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Disabled people

wheelchair user

The Scottish Government is firmly committed to equality for disabled people and is striving to create a Scotland that is fair and inclusive to all. Disabled people make up approximately one fifth of Scotland's population, yet often experience high levels of inequality compared to non-disabled people.

This part of the Scottish Government website aims to give an overview of work being undertaken by the Government to promote equality and inclusion for disabled people, and also provides information about how the Government is meeting its duties under legislation.

Key Facts

  • Nearly one in five people of working age (1 million, or 19%) in Scotland are disabled
  • Only about half of disabled people of working age are in work (50%), compared with 80% of non disabled people of working age
  • Almost half (45%) of the disabled population of working age in Britain are economically inactive i.e. outside of the labour force. Only 16% of non-disabled people of working age are economically inactive
  • There are currently 1.2 million disabled people in the UK who are available for and want to work.
  • Employment rates vary greatly according to the type of impairment a person has. Disabled people with mental health problems have the lowest employment rates of all impairment categories at only 21%. The employment rate for people with learning disabilities is 26%.
  • Disabled people are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to have no qualifications (26% as opposed to 10%)

Government Responsibilities

In Scotland, responsibility for issues that affect disabled people are split between issues reserved to the UK Government, and areas that the Scottish Government is responsible for.

The Scottish Government is responsible for the majority of public services including local councils, education, housing, social work and the National Health Service.

The UK Government is responsible for equality legislation including the Disability Discrimination Act, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), employment and income and benefits.

Click the links highlighted above for more information about these topics.

The Equality Strategy provides a framework for all Departments to tackle prejudice and discrimination and promote equal opportunities.