As Brexit day gets closer, a report from the Health and Social Care Alliance highlights widespread fear about how it will impact on people's lives
Ordinary Scots are completely in the dark about how Brexit will affect them and are scared it could impact on their health, wellbeing and overall security.
A new report from the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland highlights an overwhelming sense of uncertainty amongst Scots who desperately need more information about how Brexit will impact their everyday lives.
The organisation met with people in communities in Campbeltown, Govan, Falkirk and Aberdeen and also spoke to older people at a series of events throughout 2018.
With the UK set to leave the EU at the end of this month, the report highlights widespread fear about the personal impact Brexit could have on people’s lives. Many worrying about how Scotland will staff the NHS and social care in future, whether their human rights will be jeopardy, what will happen to their savings and incomes, as well as concern for EU residents living in Scotland and multi-national families who could become isolated from each other.
The report highlights a perception that discrimination in Scotland had increased since the vote to leave the EU – and this is impacting on both EU nationals and older people, who are being blamed for voting for Brexit.
People raised concerns about environmental protection – with those living in Falkirk, for example, particularly worried about whether leaving the EU would increase the chance of fracking projects getting the green light.
It was felt that the financial implications of Brexit had not been made clear before the vote and that a lower GPD would lead to less public money. Older people are particularly concerned about the impact on their savings and pensions and the security of themselves and their families.
Irene Oldfather, a director at the alliance, said: "The alliance took this discussion to the heart of local communities where we heard about the worries people, and in particular older people, have about the impact of Brexit on their way of life, their medicines and their pension security. For younger people, issues around freedom of movement, education and learning prevailed.
“The divisive effect that Brexit has had was particularly evident in the most recent sessions where older people resented having been stereotyped as supporters of Brexit, noting a rise in ageism in Scotland."
People were also calling for a greater balance in the media reporting of Brexit. They felt that it was difficult to get to the facts and truth of the issue and complained a lack of balance was encouraging ageism and discrimination.
Scots with long-term conditions were also worried that local charities and support groups which benefit from European Funding would be forced to close and leave them without services that improve their quality of life.
Scottish Government cabinet secretary for Brexit Michael Russell added: "It’s been really important throughout this divisive and disruptive Brexit process for people across Scotland to have their voices heard.
“The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland has done an excellent job engaging people, especially older people, in the Brexit conversation and their work has helped inform my ongoing discussions with the UK Government and other devolved administrations.”