One year on from their launch, the cross party campaign group One in Five, rallied together outside the Scottish Parliament today to remind Scotland’s Political Parties of their commitments to address the under-representation of disabled people in politics and the need to put disabled people’s rights at the heart of the campaign for Holyrood.
Since their launch last year, the nine ambassadors for One in Five’s non-funded campaigning team have signed up over forty political organisations and local party branches to their five-point Charter. And their success doesn’t stop there! The campaign can chalk up inclusion of the One in Five Charter in COSLA’s plan on disabled people’s rights; a change in the rules on election expenditure so that spending to meet access requirements won’t count towards official campaign spend, ensuring that disability is no longer a factor in what can be spent; an Access to Politics project, hosted by national Disabled People’s Organisation, Inclusion Scotland; and their website has become a must visit for all bloggers, offering a space where disabled activists can share their stories. But possibly the biggest of the campaign’s achievement is the announcement today of the Democratic Participation Fund for Disabled People in Scotland.
Pam Duncan-Glancy, Labour Party ambassador for the One in Five campaign said:
“We are delighted at the success of the campaign so far. The challenges facing disabled people in politics are numerous and we have been quite overwhelmed by the engagement of ALL Political Parties in Scotland who have embraced the challenge with open arms, honesty and a thirst to do better. This week’s announcement that we will have a Fund to support disabled people’s participation in politics is a great birthday present! Paying for the extra costs associated with being disabled – like covering the costs of PAs or accessible travel – is a huge barrier, this fund will make immeasurable difference to disabled people seeking to be involved in Politics. We are proud to have been key to making it happen”.
Hannah Bettsworth, Liberal Democrat ambassador for the One in Five campaign said:
“I joined the One in Five team very recently, and it’s great to see we can form cross-party campaigns for a fairer Scotland where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to play a part in public life. It’s vital that we continue to break down the barriers faced by disabled people in our own parties and in Scotland as a whole. As a candidate for the Liberal Democrats, I will work hard to ensure that we create a society where nobody will be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity – as a nation and as a party we must keep working to ensure that this includes disabled people.”
At today’s event, various Disabled People’s Organisations, such as People First, SAMH and Inclusion Scotland, joined One in Five to celebrate and ensure that all the major political parties make this year’s elections as accessible and inclusive as possible. Some of the things One in Five are encouraging Parties to do include; producing manifesto’s in accessible formats, ensuring campaign video’s have subtitles, hosting hustings in accessible venues, ensuring an increased availability of BSL interpreters, extending the use of livestreaming and many more.
Recent figures from Inclusion Scotland state that despite making up 20% of the population, disabled people make up less than 5% of MSPs. This is clearly a figure that needs to change and so One in Fives work and the job of making Politics more representative is no where near finished. Addressing the underrepresentation of disabled people in Politics will take time but if the last year is anything to go by, progress is on the cards and change is coming.
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Notes to Editors:
Scottish Government Press Release
Disabled Candidates’ Personal Expenses
Access to Politics Project:
One in Five website including details of the Charter, organisations signed up and cross party ambassadors:
Inclusion Scotland statistics on disabled MSPs: