EU exit could hit disabled people - MP

Reporter: Richard Hooton
Date published: 08 July 2016

OLDHAM East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has voiced concerns about the impact of Brexit on disabled people.

The new shadow minister for work and pensions has called for the Conservative leadership contenders to promise safeguards.

The Labour MP said: "After six years of drastic cuts to the social security support to millions of disabled people, around £3 billion since 2010, we need to know which EU legislation the UK will retain.

"For example, disabled people want to know if the Employment Equality Directive, which prohibits disability discrimination and strengthens UK disability employment law, will be upheld.

"I am calling on the remaining Conservative leadership contenders to specify which EU legislation, aimed at tackling discrimination against disabled people, the UK will retain in the light of the Brexit referendum vote.

"Governments set the tone for the culture of society explicitly through their policies and laws. Just last week the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights published its report on the government's austerity agenda and its recommendations were damning.

"The committee recommended the government review its austerity policies, reverse the 2012 Welfare Reform Act and 2016 Welfare Reform and Work Act cuts to social security, and conduct a comprehensive assessment of the cumulative impact of these measures on vulnerable women, children and disabled people.

"It is over 70 years since legislation was first introduced to prohibit employment-related discrimination against disabled people. Sadly, we are still fighting to address this discrimination and the inequality in employment disabled people still face.

"The EU has done a lot to strengthen UK legislation on combatting disability discrimination and we need to make sure that whoever becomes Prime Minister protects this.

"Labour will provide the leadership and support disabled people need."

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