New research involving the charity Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA), has found disabled people are continuing to face barriers accessing public buildings and services and are “hugely under-represented” in employment. This is in direct infringement of equality laws.
In a clear example of discrimination, one participant of the charities’ report claimed that they were unable to register to volunteer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow due to the venue only having stairs, an all too common anecdote which, even before the infamous COP26 Climate Summit, has become tiring for us to hear about.
Another told of difficulties working at Hampden Park because of accessibility, while interviewees said it was very common to be asked to attend a job interview only to find that the building is not accessible.
The report also highlighted societal problems in Glasgow that disabled people face, such as poor health, access to equal and inclusive education opportunities, as well as comparatively larger numbers of disabled people in poverty compared to those who have no disabilities. Furthermore, the report also suggests that these issues will not be solved until disability inequality is dealt with directly, as improvements in these areas will have a positive ripple on other disadvantaged groups in society.
Almost a quarter of Glasgow’s working-age population is disabled in some way, rising to 64 percent of those aged over 65, while 31% of all residents have one or more health conditions.
Participants who are visually impaired said they often struggled to use digital technology because it is not disability-friendly, citing examples such as being unable to use the chat function on Zoom.
The research found that people from black, ethnic minority groups with disabilities face additional barriers, while the pandemic disproportionately affected those with disabilities, due to health and social care support dropping off.
The report by Glasgow City Council’s social recovery task force and the University of Glasgow’s Centre For Disability Research, calls for “active and direct involvement” by disabled people in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of services in Glasgow.
In Scotland, Personal Independence Payment will start to be replaced by the new Adult Disability Payment from next month, opening for applications in three pilot areas from March.
Legislation for the new benefit has now been formally approved by the Scottish Parliament, which means that people of working age with a disability, long-term illness or physical or mental health condition, living in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross, and the Western Isles council areas, should apply for disability assistance to Social Security Scotland – and not the Department for Work and Pensions – from March 21 onwards.
Although we are incredibly frustrated that the Scottish government has some way to go to fix the multitude of issues presented by this damning report of their complacency towards disabled citizens, Direct Access is proud to have worked to improve accessibility measures within Scotland for TransPennine Express trains and stations, in addition to providing NHS hospitals in Scotland NRCPD registered sign language interpreters for a four-year contract.
Our Access Consultants have experience working in the Scottish cultural sector providing access consultancy for projects at Stirling Castle and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery and are currently working with the Scottish Commissions as part of the UNBOXED 2022 project“.
If you own a facility or are part of an organisation that wishes to meet best practice obligations under the Equality Act, why not get in touch with us today? Our Consultancy team will ensure that you take the steps to not only do the right thing with your budget but open the door to the social and financial benefits that come only as a result of creating an accessible and inclusive environment for disabled people.
Get in contact today. We are here to help. Because for us, access is personal.