Scotland’s political leaders have today given their backing to an Access to Politics Charter, coproduced by Inclusion Scotland and disabled people, to address the under-representation of disabled people in Scottish public life.
At an event in the Scottish Parliament, hosted on behalf of the Presiding Officer by Deputy Presiding Officer Linda Fabiani MSP, the Leaders of the 5 main political parties signed the “Access to Politics Charter”, committing their parties to providing clear guidance on how they will support disabled people’s participation.
Building on its experience delivering the Scottish Government’s Access to Elected Office Fund during last year’s local council elections, Inclusion Scotland worked with disabled activists from all political parties as well as independents to develop the “Access to Politics Charter”.
Speaking at the event, Phyl Meyer, Employability and Civic Participation Team Manager at Inclusion Scotland said:
“Disabled people are drastically underrepresented in politics. Democracy is lacking without our lived experience being central to our policy making process.
“This Charter sets out a bold, ambitious statement of intent that political parties will do their part to bring us closer to equality in this area. Our members will be looking to hold them to it!”
The 8-point charter outlines key steps that political parties need to take to support and promote the participation of disabled people. The charter will be backed by guidance produced by Inclusion Scotland.
Ethan Young, Civic Participation Officer, Inclusion Scotland said:
“It is important the parties fully publicise what they are doing to promote inclusion. This increases confidence to get involved and demonstrates good practise.”
The Scottish Parliament’s Deputy Presiding Officer, Linda Fabiani MSP, who hosted the event, said:
“All parties at Holyrood have committed to removing the barriers that prevent people from participating in politics, and so it is gratifying to see so many MSPs lend their name to Inclusion Scotland’s Access to Politics Charter.
“In a fair, democratic society, it is vital that our political representatives, and those who work in politics, reflect the society that they serve.”