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Breaking down barriers

Published: 23 Oct 2016 00:01

FM to deliver speech on disability inclusion.

The needs of disabled people will remain at the forefront of policy making in Scotland following the devolution of new powers from Westminster, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will say on Tuesday (25 October 2016).

In a major speech to the Rehabilitation International World Congress in Edinburgh, the First Minister is expected to say that Scotland will safeguard the rights of disabled people in the workplace after employment service powers are devolved to Holyrood in 2017.

Speaking to an audience that will include HRH The Princess Royal and more than 1,000 delegates from around the world, the First Minister will also outline the Scottish Government's plans to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will say:

"In the nearly 60 years since the first UK-based Rehabilitation Congress, the way that we think about disabled people and disability has changed markedly – and for the better.

"On an international level, the issue of disability rights has become a major focus of the human rights agenda – particularly through key milestones like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"We have already safeguarded the rights of 2,800 of our most severely disabled by establishing the Scottish Independent Living Fund and we are committed to using the new powers we will shortly gain to positively influence the quality of life for people with a disability.

"We also want to take away some of the anxiety felt by disabled people by reforming the assessment process for the disability benefits being devolved and will embed dignity and respect in our new social security system.

"I'm very proud of the progress we have made in Scotland. I know that there is still much that we need to learn and do which is why this Congress is so important – not only will it increase our collective understanding of the challenges disabled people face every day, but will also help guide the future actions that we all need to take to deliver a more equal and inclusive world."

Notes to editors

This is the first time since 1957 that the event is taking place in the UK, with Scottish Government policies including the Scottish Independent Living Fund, the Accessible Travel Framework and the Access to Elected Office Fund all being held up as examples of work ongoing to improving the lives of disabled people in Scotland.