Recently, The Forum was asked to deliver a session on the potential impact of Brexit (especially a ‘no deal’ one) on Disabled people to University of Bristol students undertaking a masters degree in Disability Studies. Students were shocked to realise just how many problems Disabled people may face, and amazed that it hasn’t been mentioned in any of the news coverage.
Some of these potential impacts could affect everyone but would create much more of a difficulty for Disabled people, they include:
- Shortage of some medicines – medicines which, if you are on them long term, you you need to stop taking gradually;
- Additional costs of import tax on already expensive disability-related equipment,
- A shortage of future Personal Assistants and care support workers that is likely to result if the free movement of European workers stops.
If you would like to find out more about how Disabled people could be affected in the case of a Brexit No Deal, Disability Rights UK have some great resources on their website.
A Disabled people’s organisation has warned that the proposals for who can stay in the UK after Brexit completely ignores Disabled people and their family carers.
Disire — the Disabled people’s organisation (DPO) of Disabled UK residents from other countries — made the following statement about the recent EU-UK Joint Report :
“For Disabled EU citizens and carers, the EU-UK deal is a disappointment. Not all Disabled people are able to work, or work enough, and so they sometimes do not meet the criteria for permanent residence. Carers of Disabled people, who care for their (often British) relatives also cannot apply for a permanent residence card because the Home Office does not consider them to be “working”.
“The newly proposed settled status is still based on the criteria of exercising the EU treaty rights. (This means) People who want to apply must show they have worked, have been self-employed, have studied or have been self-sufficient for five years.
“Disire believes that Disabled people and carers play a vital role in Britain and should not be prevented from getting permanent residence or settled status. Theresa May has promised not to split up families. Disabled people have families too. Disabled people and carers must not be left behind when developing a new status for EU citizens.
“Disire is disappointed that the EU-UK deal does not mention of Disabled people and carers or other suppressed groups who cannot and will not fulfil the criteria for the proposed settled status.
“We ask the European Union negotiators and the UK government to urgently ensure that any new arrangements regarding the right to stay in the UK for EEA citizens does not discriminate against Disabled people, their families and carers.
“Any new arrangements and rights must have Disabled people and their families in mind. That means any new status, rights or arrangements need to have provisions for Disabled people who cannot fulfil the requirements due to their impairment, illness or condition.
“If necessary, people with carers’ duties must also have provisions made for them if these duties prevent them from meeting the requirements. These provisions are important to meet the legal requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UK Equality Act 2010 and other laws.”
(Disire, December 2017)