Alex Neil, MSP – Cabinet Secretary For Social Justice

alex-neil-profile-shotThroughout summer, people across Scotland have been making their voices heard in a national discussion about how the Scottish Government can make our country a fairer and more equal place to live and work.

As part of Fairer Scotland, we’ve spoken with thousands of people from voluntary groups, charities and businesses who have been telling us their views on everything from education and housing to health and disability.

During this time, the Government has also introduced a number of measures which aim to improve the quality of life for disabled people.

One of these measures includes a consultation on the Draft Disability Plan. The delivery plan for 2016-20 has been drafted with disabled people, and will help Scotland meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Leading the way

The plan outlines more than 50 commitments to make sure Scotland leads the way on the rights of disabled people. We are committed to equality and we want to make sure every person enjoys the same level of human rights. We know good progress has been made over the past few years, but there is still more to be done and this draft plan aims to make life fairer for disabled people in Scotland.

Two weeks ago the Scottish Parliament also passed the final stage of the British Sign Language Bill, a significant milestone for Scotland’s BSL community and the country as a whole. The Scottish Government worked closely with deaf organisations throughout the Bill’s passage through Parliament, and will continue to do so to ensure we promote, protect and support British Sign Language and deaf culture.

More recently we announced we will abolish the 84-day-rule – a rule which penalises families whose disabled or seriously ill children are in hospital, or receiving treatment for longer than 84 days. The current UK Government rule prevents families with a disabled child from receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Carer’s Allowance after this period of time. We have announced that we will scrap this rule when powers over these benefits are passed to the Scottish Parliament. This means families in this situation will be able to continue to receive DLA and Carer’s Allowance and shows the fairer approach to social security that we are committed to developing.

The Scottish Government is committed to continuing our work with disabled people over the months and years ahead to remove barriers and enable them to enjoy equal access to full citizenship, so they can maximise their potential and add to the prosperity of our country.

I would encourage everyone to consider our draft delivery plan and respond to the consultation document so that together we can make this plan a success.

To respond to the consultation on The Scottish Government’s Draft Delivery Plan 2016-2020 visit:

If you’d like to discuss an issue regarding disability in Scotland, please send in your questions or comments to: and we’ll pass them on to the correct people.