MPs must be allowed to represent disabled people in Brexit debate

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Inclusion Scotland has said the proroguing of parliament will only cement fears disabled people have about Brexit

29th August 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Scots with disabilities feel frozen out of the debate around Brexit as the threat of no-deal grows by the hour, a charity has said.

As the Queen agreed to suspend the UK parliament for five weeks from mid-September, Inclusion Scotland has said it is getting increasingly concerned about the implications to Scots disabled people of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

The organisation has continually argued that the voice of disabled people should be heard in any debate around Brexit, however its pleas have been ignored.

Susie Fitton, policy officer for Inclusion Scotland, said: “Disabled Scots have relied on parliamentary democracy and scrutiny to curb the impacts of austerity and uphold and protect their human rights and social protections, so many of which are underpinned by EU law. We have seen the UK Government u-turn on policies that would have been highly detrimental to disabled people exactly because of parliamentary challenge by opposition MPs and the work of the committees in Parliament.

“Scots disabled people’s fears about a no-deal Brexit have been nowhere near the top of the UK Government’s agenda on Brexit. Our fear is that the proroguing of parliament will only cement that. Scots Disabled people need firm commitments from the UK Government that their rights and services will be safeguarded as we leave the EU, deal or no-deal, and without parliamentary scrutiny such assurances are looking less and less likely.”

As the UK Government’s own leaked predictions make clear a no-deal Brexit could cause turmoil and hardship for many people across the UK, the charity says it is clear disabled people are at heightened risk. They are more likely to be living in poverty, have been hardest hit by austerity, which the UN has said has led to “grave and systematic violations” of their human rights, and face specific threats from a no-deal Brexit.

Fitton added: “Which of our UK politicians are reassuring Scots disabled people and those in the rest of the UK that their lives will not be threatened by food or medicine shortages, or that they will work to ensure staffing shortages within health and social care, already at crisis levels in Scotland, are not exacerbated by a no-deal Brexit?”