Why Brexit could be damaging for UK’s disabled people
As the debate draws closer, the shouting about whether to remain or leave the EU is getting louder. Each side is attempting to drown out the other with often spurious claims about what might happen if Britain were to leave.
A few weeks back the US President Barrack Obama appeared to blow a whole in the Brexit camp’s economic and trade argument but the polls still show it to be a close run thing. But just how would the decision affect the UK’s disabled people? Well, according to three leading activists in the disability rights field, leaving could be potentially damaging. It could even put at risk the significant strides made in the last 15 years.
In the report UK Disabled People and their Families – Stronger and Safer Inside the EU, academics examine the way UK disability policy has changed since the 1990s, with a move towards equality and human rights. As a result, it became illegal for employers to discriminate against people with disabilities and also against carers.
It had similar benefits for disabled people travelling, introducing EU air passenger regulation and creating similar Europe-wide legislation for buses, trains and coaches. The disabled parking badge also grew in recognition across the continent.
The report also points to exciting new EU legislation in the future, that would be missed if Britain were to pull out. This includes the proposed Accessibility Act.
The report was written by Professor Anna Lawson, director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, Professor Gerard Quinn, director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland Galway, and Dr HywelCeri Jones, formerly co-chair of the European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disability.
They also warned that leaving the EU could mean Britain becomes more detached from EU-wide disability legislation, which could only be damaging.