The Scottish Conservatives are calling for the appointment of a Disability Commissioner for Scotland to better protect and promote the rights of disabled people – and the consultation opens today.
The Disability Commissioner Bill is being launched by Scottish Conservative disabilities spokesman, Jeremy Balfour, who said that the pandemic had highlighted the inequalities faced by disabled people and underlined the need for additional safeguards.
Discussing the proposals Jeremy Balfour MSP said:
“The Covid pandemic has highlighted the extent of the inequalities and discrimination that disabled people in Scotland still face today.
“However, from public facilities to government employment schemes, the needs of disabled people had been neglected and overlooked by the SNP for years even before the pandemic.
“We must urgently do more to support disabled people in our society.
“An independent Disability Commissioner would help safeguard and promote the rights of disabled people in Scotland and give people with any kind of disability someone to turn to if they face difficulties or discrimination.
“I urge Scots to respond to the consultation so that we can ensure our proposals fully reflect the views of the Scottish public – and I hope that this much-needed Bill will receive cross-party support when it eventually comes before parliament.”
The consultation is your chance to share your views on the proposed legislation.
The consultation period will run from Thursday 12th May to Wednesday 3rd August 2022. If you have a disability, care for someone who does, or are in any other way interested in or affected by the proposals, you can share your thoughts HERE.
What experts are saying:
Director of Camphill Scotland Emma Walker said:
“It’s now more than two years since Covid began, yet the rights of disabled people are still being ignored. We live in a discrimination-by-design society. Disabled children are being denied access to education, essential respite services are closing without explanation and archaic workplace practices are leading to limited work opportunities for disabled young people and adults.
“There are now more barriers to equal citizenship for disabled people than ever before. We urgently need to prioritise the voices and experiences of disabled people, their families and unpaid carers. That’s why we welcome the consultation for the Disability Commissioner Bill, and I urge everyone to ensure that their voice is heard.”
Director of MS Society Scotland Morna Simpkins said:
“A Disability Commissioner has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of people with MS in Scotland. We are grateful to Jeremy Balfour MSP for bringing forward this proposal and look forward to responding to it.“We urge people with MS and the wider disability community to engage with the consultation and make sure their views are heard.”