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No-deal Brexit would have ‘potentially life-threatening consequences’ for disabled people

A door opener button for wheelchair users - Image credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

No-deal Brexit would have ‘potentially life-threatening consequences’ for disabled people

A no-deal Brexit would have “potentially life-threatening consequences” for disabled people, a disabilities charity has warned.

Inclusion Scotland said it was getting “increasingly concerned” about the implications for disabled people in Scotland of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The charity warned that disabled people are at “heightened risk” because they are more likely to be living in poverty and have been hardest hit by austerity as well as facing “specific threats” from a no-deal Brexit.

Inclusion Scotland policy officer Susie Fitton asked: “Which of our UK politicians are reassuring disabled people that their lives will not be threatened by food or medicine shortages, or that they will work to ensure staffing shortages within health and social care, already at crisis levels across the UK, are not exacerbated by a no-deal Brexit?”

Fitton said that although the failure of the UK Government to reassure disabled people was “truly shocking”, it was not surprising given the damage caused by the rollout of Universal Credit and the bedroom tax.

The charity is particularly concerned about the announcement on Wednesday that the Prime Minister is to suspend parliament.

Fitton said: “Disabled people have relied on parliamentary democracy and scrutiny to curb the impacts of austerity and uphold and protect their human rights and social protections, so many of which are underpinned by EU law.

“We have seen the UK Government U-turn on policies that would have been highly detrimental to disabled people exactly because of parliamentary challenge by opposition MPs and the work of the committees in Parliament.

“Disabled people’s fears about a no-deal Brexit have been nowhere near the top of the UK Government’s agenda on Brexit.

“Our fear is that the proroguing of parliament will only cement that.

“Disabled people need firm commitments from the UK Government that their rights and services will be safeguarded as we leave the EU, deal or no deal, and without parliamentary scrutiny such assurances are looking less and less likely.”

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