Scotland's new social security system will 'fail at the first hurdle’ if basic information isn't accessible

Post date: 
Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Scotland’s new social security system could be the first in the UK to ensure that all its information is fully accessible to people with disabilities.

The requirement will be passed into law if the Scottish Parliament back amendments lodged by Cunninghame South MSP Ruth Maguire and supported by Central Scotland MSP Mark Griffin in the stage 3 debate on the Social Security (Scotland) Bill today.

The resulting Act would ensure that any information given to individuals and the public with regard to social security ‘is available in formats that are accessible to individuals who have a sensory, physical or mental disability’. Such formats include audio, braille and large-print.

The amendment was tabled after a campaign by sight loss charity RNIB Scotland and others to build provision for inclusivity ‘in with the bricks’ of the new devolved welfare system

Welcoming the move, RNIB Scotland director Campbell Chalmers commented: “Any prospect of developing a genuinely fairer and more responsive welfare system would fall at the first hurdle if the basic information on which applications and appeals were made on was not accessible to the most vulnerable in society.

“These amendments will build inclusivity in with the bricks and encourage the wider UK welfare system to follow our example. We thank Ruth Maguire and Mark Griffin for recognising the importance of ensuring that information is accessible to all.”