Parliament Urged to set up Independent Living Task ForceThe Scottish Parliament is being urged to set up an Independent Living Task Force to enable disabled people to participate fully in Scottish life.
The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) is calling for a commitment from the new Parliament to establishing an Independent Living Taskforce in Scotland, as recommended last November by the Equal Opportunities Committee following a 18-month Disability Inquiry. DRC Scotland will launch the findings of a major review of Independent Living in Scotland at its Disability Briefing for voluntary sector leaders in Edinburgh tomorrow (Tuesday July 24). Keynote speakers at tomorrow’s event include DRC chairman Sir Bert Massie, Stewart Maxwell, Minister for Communities and Sport, and Morag Alexander, Scotland Commissioner for the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).
DRC chairman Sir Bert Massie said: “Independent Living (IL) involves providing appropriate support to enable disabled people to participate fully across the spectrum of economic, social, political and cultural life, giving them the same choice, control and freedom as non-disabled people - at home, at work and as members of the community. “Through independent living disabled people have the opportunity to contribute, to create their own wealth and control their own lives. This means tailoring services to meet individual needs – ensuring that people can choose where they live, the care appropriate to their needs, transport to get to and from work and where they want to socialize.”
Sir Bert added: “As well as the obvious benefits for individuals from independent living, there also a need to recognize the economic benefits to society – for example getting disabled people into employment or into their own homes instead of in residential care.
“Also Independent Living doesn’t just benefit disabled people, it also benefits carers – people who by choice or default have given up part of their lives to care for someone else. Economically Scotland is at a crossroads, with an ageing population and increased globalization and competition. We simply cannot afford this wasted talent.
“The DRC sees this as a 15-year programme requiring major investment in the provision of services including housing, transport, education and the benefits system in Scotland. For example, the critical shortage of adapted housing in Scotland means many disabled people are stuck inside their own homes or forced to stay in an institution - only 20% of Scotland’s 36,000 wheelchair users have adapted homes.”
The Independent Living in Scotland study, commissioned by DRC Scotland, sets out the current situation in Scotland , discusses which policies promote and which inhibit independent living, the development of an IL strategy, and makes recommendations for the scope of the Taskforce’s remit.