Disabled people facing ‘considerable’ barriers

Wednesday 31th July 2019

Disabled people face barriers in fully participating in Scottish society in a ‘considerable number’ of areas, according to a new report.

Analysis carried out by the Scottish Government highlights data showing a higher prevalence of poverty, lower rates of employment and reduced mental wellbeing among disabled Scots.

Disabled people are also more likely to be worried about crime and there are ‘potentially some concerning trends in offline and online hate crime at a UK level,’ the report states.

They were also less likely to be able to visit parks, the countryside and seaside and attend cultural events.

The report – Scotland’s Wellbeing: national outcomes for disabled people – shows 10% of children and nearly a third – 32% – of the adult population are disabled.

Over half are in the over 75 age group and women are more likely to report disabilities than men – at 34% compared to 29%.

While 43% of those living in the poorest areas reported disabilities, that dropped to 23% in the least deprived parts of the country.

However, over half of disabled people thought their neighbourhoods were ‘very good’ places to live in, the same as non-disabled people.

A worrying trend in crime towards disabled people across the UK is highlighted – in Scotland, the Crown Office reported 284 charges aggravated by disability prejudice in 2017-18, a rise of 51% compared to the previous year.

Disabled people also have lower average mental wellbeing scores than non-disabled people, at 45 compared to 52, on a scale of 14 to 72.

The report notes evidence suggests there is a ‘pronounced disability employment gap’, with just over 45% of those aged 16-64 who disabled in employment compared to around 81% for those who are not disabled.

The report’s authors praise increased use and linkage of administrative data to build a more accurate picture of the experiences of certain groups in society, ‘however, there will continue to be aspects of outcome performance that can best be understood by qualitative research or by engaging with disability stakeholders and disabled people,’ they state.

‘The progress of actions and the evaluation of ‘A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People’, including the major summit in 2020, will provide good opportunities for this conversation to continue.’