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This week sees the launch of the Learning Disability Alliance England. For us in Scotland, despite all the recent work over the referendum there are many concerns that we share with people in England – welfare reform, employment, the development of the economy and equality issues.
For example, the roll out of Universal Credit across the whole of the UK will see the end of Severe Disability Premium which helps people with learning disabilities live independently. Many people will be forced to make hard choices about rent, heating and food – all of which can cost more for people with disabilities, no matter which side of the border they live on.
We think that there will be many more things that are devolved that we can still cooperate on. Many people don’t realise that case law and precedent set in either Scotland or England usually applies subsequently in both. Legal rulings on equality law in England help us in Scotland while case law on assessment from Scotland helps make sure councils play fair in England.
Today more than ever austerity makes us all brothers and sisters. We hope that together we can really begin to change the way that people with learning disabilities are seen and listened to no matter where they live in the United Kingdom. Working together we are all stronger.
The number of people with substantial learning disabilities in England and Wales who are in paid employment has fallen.
While unemployment in Britain generally has been fallen, the Department of Health has suggested that the proportion of learning disabled people who were in paid employment fell from 7% in 2012-13 to 6.8% in 2013-14.
This is probably caused by cuts in the supported employment programmes which help people get into work.
Figures for Scotland from ESAY suggest paid employment in Scotland is less at only 6.2% (not including those training for employment)
The Annual General Meeting of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland will be held on Tuesday November 25th from 11 am to 1 pm in the main office of KEY Community Supports :
70 Renton Street
Glasgow G4 0HT
This is a short walk from both Queen Street Station and Buchanan Street Bus Station and just yards from the M8 motorway for those who are driving.
We will be having a special presentation on Supported Employment this year by Catherine Hurrell from VIAS
The Scottish Independent Living Fund is still in the process of being set up. Self Directed Support Scotland will be hosting the Scottish ILF Development Manager (18 month contract, £50,000 pa), who reports to the newly formed Project Board, which is coproducing advice on the new Scottish ILF arrangements. The Project Board have recently (mid October) agreed the content of messages to go out to stakeholders, from Scottish Government, to keep everyone informed. They are currently being drafted in to accessible formats (possibly Easy Read, but if not then certainly Plain English) and there should be something going out to people in the next two or three weeks.
The project board consists of a number of user led disabled organisations such as GCIL and LCIL, The Scottish Government and Cosla.
The current arrangements as we understand it are: