This week I launched the new Access to Elected Office Fund, a £200,000 scheme to help disabled people become candidates in next year’s local elections.
Taking action to increase the under-representation of disabled people in politics is just one way we’re delivering on our commitment to equality for disabled people.
I am personally committed to using new powers over disability and carers benefits to build a social security system with dignity and respect at it’s heart.
Across government we’re maintaining policies that ensure disabled people can lead independent and fulfilling lives. And over the next five years we’ll also do more to support disabled people into work and training.
I am determined that in everything we do as a government, we are working towards a society that is fair and inclusive for all disabled people.
Jeane Freeman is the Minister for Social Security and SNP MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
Here are ten ways that, in government, the SNP is working towards a Scotland that is fair and inclusive for all disabled people.
- We have established a £200,000 Elected Office Fund to provide support for disabled people seeking to stand for selection and election in the 2017 local government elections. Find out more about the fund, including how to apply, here.
- Through the National Entitlement Card, Scotland’s disabled people continue to travel for free on local or Scottish long distance buses.
- We are strengthening financial and practical support for disabled students.
- We are ensuring that the Modern Apprenticeship programme is open to all, and increase the numbers of disabled trainees included in the programme.
- A Scottish social security agency will be established with dignity and respect at its heart – the language of “shirkers” and “scroungers” will not be the language of the Scottish social security system.
- We will protect disability benefits and ensure they remain universal, not means tested.
- The disability benefit assessment process will be reformed to ensure it works for service users and we will set clear timescales for conducting them and making decisions. We’ll also introduce long-term awards for existing long-term conditions that are unlikely to change.
- Over the next five years we will invest at least £150 million to improve mental health services in Scotland.
- The £52 million Scottish Independent Living Fund, which we established after the scheme was scrapped by the Tory government, will be maintained.
- We will support disabled people into employment with a £20 million fund.
If you want to keep up to date with our action for disabled people, sign up to our disabled group here.