PLANNING for a post-Covid-19 Scotland must be about “building forwards towards a more inclusive future for disabled people, not back to an old ‘normal’ that excludes a lot of us”, according to Inclusion Scotland.

The group says the Covid pandemic has only highlighted the many problems disabled Scots face.

Launching Inclusion Scotland’s manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, Inclusion Scotland’s chief executive officer Dr Sally Witcher said: “Disabled people have told us about the problems they face daily, both before and as a result of Covid-19, and what needs to change. Before Covid-19, disabled people were already some of the most marginalised and excluded in society.

“We were more likely to live in poverty, be unemployed or earn less than non-disabled people, and less likely to leave school with qualifications, because of the barriers and exclusion we face in our day-to-day lives.

“The Covid-19 crisis and responses to it highlighted this, aggravating existing inequalities and generating new ones, and putting the human rights of disabled people at further risk.

“Going back to the way things were before is not the answer.

“We don’t want to go back. We want to go forwards to a more inclusive future.”

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The Manifesto Rights and Renewal sets out what disabled people told Inclusion Scotland are the most important issues they face and what needs to be done to make a post-Covid-19 Scotland a better place for disabled people.

It has five key asks:

• Incorporate the UN Convention on Rights of Disabled People into Scots law to fully promote, protect and realise disabled people’s

human rights

• Recognise social care support as a fundamental basic right with the same criteria wherever you live

• Ensure equal access to education and jobs for disabled people, particularly disabled young people.

• Use Scottish social security powers to help reduce the number of disabled people living in poverty

• Involve us, the experts in our own lives, in making post Covid-19 Scotland better for disabled people

Witcher concluded by calling on all political parties standing in the Scottish Parliament elections and their candidates to pledge their support for disabled people’s five asks.