Humza Yousaf is warned disabled people are dying from cost-of-living crisis
Poverty is hitting disabled people worst in Scotland with many unable to complete daily tasks because they can’t afford personal care.
Tressa Burke, chief executive of Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA), has written to Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf saying disabled people are dying through poverty.
The letter is written on behalf of Disabled People’s Organisations of Scotland (DPOS) which brings together seven campaign groups.
Benefits such as Disability Living Allowance were not adequate to meet the costs of being disabled and they were the only group of people who didn’t get an uplift in financial support during the pandemic, the letter states.
"People are dying and nobody knows and nobody cares," it warns.
"It's a very unsung story. It only touches people if it touches their family or very sadly if it's a child.”
The letter goes on to say that there has been a gap in political leadership when it comes to disabled people who have repeatedly fallen through cracks from the financial global collapse to the pandemic, the Ukraine War and now the cost-of-living crisis.
“There has been a systematic failure of plans and absence of actions to specifically tackle disabled people’s poverty and inequality and a related failure to involve DPOs in the planning and design of the many policies which most likely start with good intentions and end by making life worse,” says the letter.
“There is no end to these – Place Based approaches, 20 minute neighbourhoods, active travel to name a few which demonstrate an absence of disability competence in their development.”
Burke said the organisation had requested meetings with the first minister but had been refused before finally meeting last month.
The letter concludes: “We urge you to exercise political leadership and properly resource the Disability Equality Strategy’s Immediate Priorities Plan: this will empower and enable your government to take real action to tackle the poverty and inequalities disabled people are facing, right now.
“An immediate action would be to include this commitment in your Programme for Government. This would signal your commitment to disabled people and our DPOs.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government remains committed to advancing equality for disabled people, who we recognise are disproportionately impacted by the UK government’s welfare cuts and current cost of living crisis.
"We are working closely with Disabled People’s Organisations to develop actions that combat the effects the crisis continues to have on disabled people’s lives.”