Programme for Government 2022 – Disability Equality Scotland Response

Morven Brooks, CEO of Disability Equality Scotland, has given her response to the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2022.

We are living through unprecedented times for many people, but none more so than for disabled people, who have for years now struggled financially and socially.  The cost-of-living crisis only threatens to deepen the inequalities which exist in Scotland, and there is a genuine fear that disabled people will be left to bear the brunt.

Disability Equality Scotland is already hearing from disabled people right across Scotland of the devastating impact that soaring energy and food prices are having on their lives. Our recent research found that an overwhelming 97% of respondents are ‘very concerned’ by rising costs.

Disabled people are telling us that they are having to make meals last them two days, that they are heating only one room, and that they are falling behind on their rent just so they can eat.

One Disability Equality Scotland member reflected:

“I have a small, travel powerchair for hospital visits and a larger one for shopping. They both take 4 hours to charge up. My bath raiser takes 16 hours to charge. I cannot manage without them. I feel cold all the time and dread the winter now with my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I will not be able to afford the bills.”

I was also disappointed to read no acknowledgement of the Hate Crime Charter which was developed in collaboration with disabled people and launched by Disability Equality Scotland in March 2022.  The Hate Crime Charter aims to encourage transport providers to take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime on the transport network.

Disability Equality Scotland and our membership needs to know urgently what additional measures are being considered for disabled people as well as disabled people who require life supporting electrical equipment, such as hoists and beds, to be available 24 hours a day.

We ask the Scottish Government to put the lived experience of disabled people at the heart of any future plans or support and to engage meaningfully with disabled people and Access Panels.

In the meantime, Disability Equality Scotland will continue to engage and consult with disabled people on the issues that affect them, and we will work to ensure that the Scottish Government is aware of these issues.