Minister raises issue on visit to Strasbourg.
The UK Government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit would widen the inequality gap faced by disabled people, Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman has said.
Ms Freeman raised her concerns on a visit to Strasbourg today, where she discussed Scotland’s leading approach to promoting the rights of disabled people with the Council of Europe and Members of the European Parliament.
Brexit poses a significant threat to the rights that disabled people currently have under international conventions – rights Ms Freeman said must be protected.
“While the Scottish Government continues working hard to improve the lives of disabled people in Scotland, we know a hard Brexit puts jobs at risk and will create a further attack on their rights, eroding the protections and obligations we have come to expect.
"Through my dialogue with the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, I stressed what we are already doing to uphold these principles.
“The best way of protecting rights and jobs is to ensure all the Governments of the UK are part of Brexit negotiations and that our place in the Single Market is maintained.
“The UK Government’s on-going austerity agenda is already damaging the rights of those with disabilities – with a UN committee finding there had been “grave and systematic violations” of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“That is why it is even more essential that this government does all it can to ensure we adhere the UN Convention, as well as continue to press the UK Government to meet to its obligations and ensure that, through the Brexit negotiations, disability rights are explicitly safeguarded and not eroded.”
A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People report was published in December.
Since 2013/14 the Scottish Government has had to spend more than £350 million to mitigate the worst of UK Government welfare reforms, including the bedroom tax.