PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
Following the results in the council elections, disabled people’s organisation Inclusion Scotland is hailing an important step forward as disabled people from across the political spectrum were elected as councillors in twelve Scottish Local Authorities.
This election saw the culmination of the pilot Access to Elected Office Fund (Scotland), which provided support to disabled people standing for elected office. Administered by Inclusion Scotland and funded by Scottish Government, the pilot project provided financial assistance to a total of 44 potential candidates. Thirty nine of these went on to be selected and run as candidates and fifteen were successfully elected.
The aim of the Fund was to address additional difficulties and extra costs faced by disabled candidates, such as higher transport costs, the need for communication support workers, personal assistants, adaptive equipment and other adjustments. Funding was granted solely to ensure disabled candidates had a more level playing field on which to compete against non-disabled opponents. Monies for this purpose were not included in, nor could they be used for, regular campaign expenditure.
Dr Sally Witcher, Chief Executive Officer, Inclusion Scotland said:
“This is a promising start towards much needed equality of representation for disabled people in politics. It goes to show what we disabled people can achieve if we have the right support, and the contribution we can then make to society. We know from the feedback already received how important the Fund was to enabling disabled people to compete on a more equal basis, or even stand for election at all. As elected representatives disabled people can directly contribute valuable lived experience towards the development of inclusive policy and identify the barriers to inclusion that need to be removed. We are delighted that Scottish Government has committed to continuing the Fund and look forward to working with political parties and disabled people to build on this initial progress.”
Minister for Social Security, Jeanne Freeman, said:
“I am delighted that the Access to Elected Office Fund has yielded such excellent results in the local government elections.
“It is essential that we do all that we can to support those disabled people who wish to stand for elected office. As has been demonstrated, the Fund provides the means to help meet that need. That is why we are committed to maintaining the Fund until the next Scottish Parliamentary elections.”
For press enquiries please contact Phyl Meyer on 0131 281 0860 or email email@example.com
Notes to editors:
- Inclusion Scotland works to ensure that policy affecting the everyday lives of disabled people in Scotland is informed by and reflects their views. We work for the removal of barriers to the inclusion of disabled people into all aspects of Scottish civic, social and economic life. To those ends we carry out policy work and information, engagement and capacity-building activities at national and local level across Scotland.
The candidates supported through the Access to Elected Office Fund who were elected are as follows:
- Tommy Cochrane – SNP; Fortissat
- Audrey Forrest – SNP; Dunoon
- Ken Gowans – SNP; Inverness South
- Ashley Graczyk – Conservative; Sighthill & Gorgie (Edinburgh)
- Katie Hagmann – SNP; Mid Galloway and Wigtown West
- Eric Holford – Conservative; Clydesdale East
- Derek Howie – SNP; Liberton / Gilmerton (Edinburgh)
- Emma Knox – SNP; Aird & Loch Ness
- Jim Macleod – SNP; Inverclyde East Central
- Jenny Adam McGregor – SNP; Paisley North East & Ralston
- Robert Mooney – Labour; Canal (Glasgow)
- Susan Rae – Scottish Greens; Leith Walk (Edinburgh)
- David Ross – Conservative; Dunfermline South
- Ron Sturrock – Conservative; Montrose & District
- Laura Brennan-Whitefield – SNP; Ayr North
Successful candidates are available for interview. Please contact us for more information.
- To date there has yet to be a comprehensive survey of disability status amongst councillors, but the Electoral Commission is carrying out a survey of this year’s candidates currently. If elected councillors reflected the fact that around one in five of the working age population is disabled that would require around 240 disabled councillors
For further information on the Access to Elected Office Fund or the Access to Politics project contact Phyl Meyer on 0131 281 0860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org More information is also available: https://inclusionscotland.org/information/employability-and-civic-participation/access-to-politics/aeofs/