The focus of the debate on the EU referendum until now has been mainly on the economy, trade agreements, employment, legal issues and immigration. There has been hardly any key media coverage on Disabled People and their livelihood within or without the EU, except an article by Richard Howitt MEP in the Guardian.
This SPECTRUM briefing paper outlines some key issues and benefits for Disabled People by remaining in the EU. For example:
- European wide non-discrimination directive protects the rights of disabled people in employment
- Campaigning for Independent Living successfully influenced EU support for Disabled People having right to control own lives
- 87,000 British Disabled People were supported by the European Social Fund last year, helping them towards the world of work
- European Social Fund finance provides a vital lifeline for Disabled People that we can ill afford to lose
- European Accessibility Act means there will be a duty to ensure all services and products are accessible. We would lose out on these benefits if we leave the EU
- The EU helps tackle discrimination. We want to pull down barriers not erect them. Discrimination does not stop at borders
- Engaging with the European disability movement and the EU has led to many positive changes improving Disabled People’s lives in the UK
You can also read another very informative briefing on these issues – ‘UK Disabled People: Stronger and Safer inside the EU’ – written by Anna Lawson (Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds); Gerard Quinn (Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway); and Hywel Ceri Jones (former co-chair of the European Consortium of Foundations on Disability Rights). It is available on the University of Leeds web site.