Ambitions to create a more responsive welfare system in Scotland will ‘fall at the first hurdle’ if information isn’t accessible to claimants with sight loss.

Post date: 
Friday, 2 February 2018

2nd February 2018 | RNIB Scotland welcomes amendment to new Welfare and the Social Security (Scotland) Bill.

Moves to ensure blind and partially sighted people get information about welfare benefits in formats such as audio or braille received a boost yesterday when MSPs backed an amendment to the Welfare and the Social Security (Scotland) Bill by sight loss charity RNIB Scotland.
The charity says it welcomed the devolution of eleven key disability benefits - including disability living allowance, personal independence payments and attendance allowance – but warned that ambitions to create a more responsive benefits system in Scotland will ‘fall at the first hurdle’ if it is not accessible.
Backbench MSPs on the Social Security Committee yesterday narrowly voted to include the amendment to the Bill, due to go to the Scottish Parliament later this year.
Dr Catriona Burness, campaigns manager for RNIB Scotland, said: “We have a historic opportunity in Scotland to introduce a more flexible and supportive welfare system. But this will fall at the first hurdle if some people can’t access even basic information in formats they can read. It would mean some of the most vulnerable in our society were deprived of the full support they were entitled to.
“This surely can’t be acceptable for a modern welfare system, and certainly not when the benefits being devolved relate to disability.”