Disabled people make a significant contribution to Scottish society, bringing talent, diversity and richness to our communities. However for too long, many disabled individuals, have been held back from moving into sustainable work; limiting their ability to contribute fully to our economy.
This is why, in 2016, this Government published A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People, in which we committed to implementing a broad range of actions to reduce barriers, tackle inequalities and help disabled people secure equal enjoyment of the rights which we all take for granted. Central to this commitment, is our goal to at least halve the Disability Employment Gap, which has remained stubbornly high through the decades.
When we set this goal we knew that it was ambitious. And that it would require an All-Scotland approach, using all of the devolved levers at the Scottish Government’s disposal, and the combined efforts of our partner organisations, Scotland’s employers and the public sector.
To that end, I have been pleased to see the good work going on at the local level to help improve the lives of disabled people. I have had the good fortune of being able to visit many of Scotland’s employers over the past few years, and have seen first-hand the benefits that having a diverse workforce makes to an organisation.
We know that disabled people, their organisations, employers and other partners have the ideas and commitment needed to reduce the Disability Employment Gap. Over the past year, we have had many conversations and they will have a direct impact on our Action Plan, which will be published this Autumn and will set out our approach to halving the Disability Employment Gap.
This pamphlet is a continuation of that conversation. It is vital to that we hear your thoughts and views on how we reduce the employment gap.
We have now launched a consultation on how to improve disabled employment rates within the public sector and will continue to work with our partners to set targets towards halving the Disability Employment Gap.
Furthermore, as a Government we will continue to make the case that decisions regarding employment law, social security and disabled people’s rights are best made by those that live in Scotland and argue for further devolution of these remaining powers to Scotland.
However, the work starts here and now. Throughout this pamphlet you will read of real world examples of individuals who have been personally affected by the work of the Scottish Government and our partners. Their stories are a testament to Scotland’s determination to end inequalities in Scottish society, and we look forward to working with you to do so.
Minister for Employability and Training
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