Commitment to social justice lies at the heart of political and civic life in Scotland.
In an independent Scotland, it will be the people of Scotland, and our Scottish Government, who will decide our future policy on disabled people.
Ahead of UN Disabilities Day on December 3, Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman launched the Scottish Government’s Disability Delivery Plan, setting out the actions we will take to reduce inequality experienced by disabled people.
There are over a million disabled people in Scotland who add talent and diversity to our society, yet far too often they face barriers which stop them making their full contribution. By working with disabled people and the organisations that represent them we have put together our Disability Delivery Plan, focussing on removing those barriers.
The Plan outlines five ambitions for Scotland, which are to support services that promote independent living; safeguard incomes and remove barriers to employment; improve accessibility; promote active participation; and protect the rights of disabled people.
There are 93 actions included in the Plan. Here are just some of them.
- We will reduce barriers to employment for disabled people.
We will seek to reduce by at least half, the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the working age population. We will work with disabled people and other key stakeholders to develop a plan for achieving this reduction.
- We will consult with disabled people and public sector bodies on setting targets to reduce the disability employment gap in the public sector.
Disabled people currently make up 20 per cent of the population, but only 11 per cent of the private sector workforce and 11.7 per cent of the public sector workforce.
- We will pilot a work experience scheme specifically for young disabled people.
This scheme will aim to improve their transition into permanent employment and remove barriers they can face finding employment.
- We will provide young disabled people with the highest level of Modern Apprenticeship funding until the age of 30.
We recognise the additional support young disabled people may need and that their transition into work may take longer. That’s why we will remove age restrictions and remove other barriers preventing young disabled people entering Modern Apprenticeships.
- We will work with local authorities and disabled people to ensure the delivery of wheelchair accessible housing across all tenures.
Accessible housing is key to independent living. We will ensure that each local council sets a realistic target within its Local Housing Strategy for the delivery of wheelchair accessible housing across all tenures, and reports every year on progress.
- We will extend our Access to Elected Office Fund beyond local government elections in 2017.
We are determined to increase representation of disabled people in our democratic institutions. The Access to Elected Office Fund is supporting those who wish to stand in the 2017 local government elections by helping meet the additional costs disabled people face when seeking election. We will continue this fund for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021.
Yes Edinburgh West has a website, Facebook, Twitter, National Yes Registry and a Library of topics on Scottish Politics, including Disabled people. The 2014 Referendum White Paper (p.152) and the Wee Blue Book, although dated, give a good idea of policy options.