Inclusion Scotland welcomes funding for disabled people’s involvement in politics
As disabled people are hugely underrepresented within politics and elected office, Inclusion Scotland welcomes today’s announcement from the Scottish Government that funding is now available to target this and involve disabled people in the political process. Inclusion Scotland are delighted to be managing the innovative Access to Politics for Disabled People project and look forward to providing support and advice to disabled candidates in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections and to disabled people seeking to become more involved in politics in general.
The project will also provide advice and support to political parties around making reasonable adjustments for disabled people under the Equality Act 2010. Inclusion Scotland has vast experience in this field, particularly following on from two successful projects including a parliamentary internship program, placing young disabled graduates with host MSPs in 2014. During 2015, this work has continued through placing disabled interns with each political party, as well as being part of the Disability Equality Internship Programme, delivering internships for disabled graduates within voluntary sector organisations.
Inclusion Scotland’s Chief Executive Officer Sally Witcher said: “Disabled people have the human right to be politically active, just like non-disabled people. Yet, despite having a great deal to contribute to political life in Scotland and despite cross-party commitment to open up access many barriers exist that prevent their equal participation. Furthermore, if Scottish Government is to achieve its vision for a Fairer Scotland, one which values the participation of all its citizens, it is imperative we find out more about just what those barriers are and what can be done to remove them. For all these reasons, Inclusion Scotland is delighted to receive Scottish Government funding for a short-term pilot project to investigate what bars disabled people’s participation and what practical steps can be taken to make lasting improvements to access. This will enable us to provide non-financial support and advice to individual disabled people seeking to become involved in politics and those seeking to promote and facilitate their involvement. Inclusion Scotland looks forward to working with the One in Five campaign, whose cross-party supporters and aspiring disabled activists have been instrumental in securing commitments from across the political spectrum to make an increase in disabled people’s political participation a reality ‘on the ground’, thereby helping to promote a Fairer Scotland for all.”
Link to Scottish Government press release on this project: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Empowering-disabled-people-1fea.aspx
1) Inclusion Scotland is a national network of disabled people, their organisations and allies. Through our membership we reach large numbers of disabled people across Scotland. Together we work to make sure that decisions affecting disabled people’s daily lives are informed by their views and lived experience; to promote the full inclusion of disabled people into all aspects of Scottish civil, social and economic life.
2) One in Five is a campaign to encourage, empower and increase political participation amongst disabled people in Scotland.
3) The Scottish Parliament’s disabled members currently sits at less than 5%. A representative Scottish Parliament would have 20 – 25% disabled members.
4) The Access to Politics for Disabled People project is non-party political and Inclusion Scotland will work across all parties for the duration of the project. This work is about promoting a fully inclusive democracy and disabled people’s human rights to political participation.
5) Case studies from Inclusion Scotland’s Parliamentary Internship programme will be available for media outlets to speak to. 6) Further press enquiries should be directed to Dr Sally Witcher, CEO of Inclusion Scotland – Tel: 07824 632 990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
6) Enquiries from disabled people and/or organisers of political groups and organisations about accessing the new advice and support service should be directed to email@example.com or call 0131 281 0864