Political parties grilled by disabled people

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 6th December 2019

Prospective MPs have been questioned by disabled people ahead of the UK Parliament General Election on 12 December 2019.

More than 100 disabled people and their families, unpaid carers and professionals attended a national disability-themed hustings event which took place on Thursday 5 December at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh.

The event was organised by leading charities National Autistic Society Scotland, Scottish Autism, MS Society Scotland, Enable, Scottish Women’s Autism Network, Leonard Cheshire Scotland, Sense Scotland, RNIB Scotland, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE).

Sheila Gilmore from the Scottish Labour Party, Tommy Sheppard from Scottish National Party, Caron Lindsay from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Iain McGill from the Scottish Conservative Party and Elaine Gunn from the Scottish Green Party answered questions from subjects including education, attitudes towards disabled people, transport, Brexit, disability benefits as well as health and social care.

The charities organised the event to give a platform to disabled people to put their concerns directly to politicians ahead of the General Election. Given that one in five people in Scotland is disabled there has been little discussion about the challenges facing them and our event tried to address this imbalance.

David Weir, an autistic attendee said: “The event was really important because it gave autistic people like me an opportunity to have our voices heard by the parties. I always vote and encourage other autistic people to vote. I feel that many politicians don’t listen – so the more disabled people speaking up the more they will understand the challenges we face and hopefully do something about it.”

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