Delivering fairness for 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.

In close partnership with disabled people’s organisations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, COSLA and others, the Scottish Government has published its action plan that has 5 key ambitions:

  • Support services that meet people’s needs and promote independent living
  • Decent incomes and fairer working lives
  • Places that are accessible to everyone
  • Protected rights
  • Active participation

Here’s 10 ways we’re working towards a fairer, more inclusive Scotland for disabled people.

1. Making travel easier

Through the National Entitlement Card, disabled people in Scotland continue to be able to travel for free on local or long distance buses across the country.

The Scottish Government has also expanded the concessionary bus pass for the companions of eligible disabled children aged under 5.

2. A new social security system, with dignity and respect at its heart

We have established a new social security system that sees social security as an investment in our people, not as a hindrance.

A far cry from Westminster’s shameful language and the decade of Tory welfare cuts, Scotland’s new system puts people first.

We’ve also ensured that in Scotland, assessments for disability assistance will be delivered in the public sector – not the private sector, like in many parts of the UK.

3. Introducing the Adult Disability Payment

From spring 2022, the Adult Disability Payment will replace Personal Independence Payment for disabled people of working age in Scotland – a significant milestone in the development of the Scottish social security system.

4. The Child Disability Payment

Scotland’s Child Disability Payment is now open for applications across the country – and is the first of the complex disability benefits to be introduced nationwide by the Scottish Government.

The new payment provides financial assistance to help meet the additional costs associated with having a disability, and replaces the UK government’s Disability Living Allowance.

5. Supporting people to live with freedom, choice and independence

We’re continuing to fund the Independent Living Fund in Scotland, after the UK government decided to close it in 2015.

The fund enables disabled people with high support needs to choose to live in their communities, and is a key part of safeguarding the rights of disabled people to live independently.

And we’re mitigating the cruel Tory bedroom tax, which would have affected 70,000 households – 80% with a disabled family member.

6. Creating more accessible places

We want to give disabled people greater and more meaningful involvement in designing policies and services – including housing, transport and the wider physical and cultural environment.

We are supporting local councils to build more accessible housing, and while our building regulations for accessibility in new-build homes are already the best in the UK, we want to go even further.

7. Reducing barriers to employment

We’re determined to reduce the barriers to employment for disabled people – through setting targets to increase the number of disabled people employed in workplaces in the public sector, and introducing a work experience scheme for young disabled people.

We’re also removing barriers to disabled people getting into apprenticeships – giving young disabled people the highest level of funding for their chosen Modern Apprenticeship.

8. Protecting disabled people’s rights

We are committed to ensuring that all disabled people can realise their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, and we’ve set out our delivery plan for how to achieve that.

9. Empowering disabled people to fully participate as active citizens

It’s essential to ensure that disabled people are able to fully participate in all aspects of daily and public life in Scotland.

We’ve established a fund to support disabled people seeking to stand for election, and we’ve set government equality targets to help more disabled people serve on boards of organisations.

10. Promoting and strengthening BSL (British Sign Language)

In 2017, the Scottish Government also launched the first National Action Plan on BSL – the first plan of its kind in the UK.

Among other things, it’s allowing more pupils to choose to learn BSL in school, researching ways to provide BSL information at transport hubs, and strengthening the BSL/English interpreting profession.