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Overwhelming support from MSPs for disabled transitions bill

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Bill will help disabled young people into adulthood

Some 59 MSPs are supporting a bill that will help young disabled people transition to adulthood.

The Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood)(Scotland) Bill has been taken forward by Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP with support from Camphill Scotland and Inclusion Scotland and will give a right to a statutory transitions plan to every disabled child or young person.

Support with transitions would then remain in place until no longer needed, or the young person’s 26th birthday.

The bill would also require the Scottish Government to introduce a statutory national transitions strategy to improve outcomes for disabled children and young people in the transition to adulthood, and require the Scottish Government to appoint a Minister with special responsibility for transitions.

Strong cross-party support from 59 MSPs means the MSP has now secured the right to introduce the bill.

Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP said: “I am so proud that the bill secured support from MSPs representing every party in the Scottish Parliament, and I look forward to continuing to work cross party, and with Camphill Scotland, and Inclusion Scotland and others, to ensure that parliament delivers the changes that disabled children and young people need to see.

“The measures that this bill outlines are vital to address the challenges that young disabled people too often face when they leave school. Young disabled people are twice as likely to be not in education, employment or training when they leave school than non-disabled people, and the disability employment gap is 32%. It is crystal clear that we need to do far more to give young disabled people a fighting chance at future than we are right now.

“I know how hard my own transition experience was, my family were forced to become project managers in our own lives, and I know that too many young disabled people still face that reality today. 

“Young disabled people have been held back for far too long. That’s why this bill is so important, and I hope we get it through parliament and ensure the support that young disabled people so desperately need.”

Emma Walker, Camphill Scotland’s director, said: “This is a huge step and we are delighted with the support from MSPs from across all parties. Young disabled people across Scotland deserve a positive transition into adulthood, opportunities to access work and further education, and a legal right to support when needed.

“Now that Pam has secured the introduction of this bill to parliament we are hopeful that families in the not-so-distant future will no longer have to fight for their child’s access to these rights.”

Bill Scot, policy manager at Inclusion Scotland, added: “Inclusion Scotland welcomes the incredible level of cross party support for the Transitions Bill. 

“This legislation will provide support when it’s needed most to young disabled people facing the difficult transition between school and adult life. That support will be vital in reducing the huge employment gap between non-disabled people, 80% of whom are in work and disabled people , less than half of whom work.

“We look forward to working with Pam Duncan-Glancy to successfully steering her bill through the Scottish Parliament”.