Immediate Priorities Plan for Disabled People

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 21 March 2024.

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Photo of Paul O'Kane Paul O'Kane Labour

8. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the implementation of the immediate priorities plan developed with disabled people’s organisations. (S6O-03247)

Photo of Emma Roddick Emma Roddick Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is working hard to improve the lives of disabled people. The independent living fund, which supports disabled people, will reopen to new applicants after receiving a £9 million investment as part of the 2024-25 Scottish budget, and will support around 1,000 new applicants.

Later this year, we will implement an immediate priorities plan that will deliver a range of actions to support disabled people. In addition, £5 million from our equality and human rights fund supports disabled people’s organisations to tackle inequality and discrimination, furthering equality and advancing the realisation of human rights in Scotland.

Photo of Paul O'Kane Paul O'Kane Labour

Disabled people across my West Scotland region have been in touch with me to express their frustration that the Government is not taking their issues and concerns seriously. Although they have welcomed the intent behind the immediate priorities plan, that has become something of a misnomer because there is no immediacy on a plan that the Government has been discussing for a year. Indeed, the minister’s answer suggested that we will see further progress some time later this year. Will she listen to the concerns of disabled people who are raising those issues with their MSPs? What will she do to energise that work as a matter of urgency, so that we can deliver action on the challenges that disabled people in Scotland face?

Photo of Emma Roddick Emma Roddick Scottish National Party

Paul O’Kane will appreciate that the plan is being co-produced with disabled people’s organisations. On Tuesday, I, along with the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, met representatives of those organisations to ensure that we are moving forward as quickly as we can with publishing and implementing the plan.

I point out that this is not the only piece of work that we are undertaking to support disabled people; indeed, I covered a few in my initial answer. If the member is interested, I would be more than happy to share with him even more about what the Scottish Government is doing.