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EU Referendum: How people with disabilities will be affected

26-May-16
Article By: Sue Learner, Editor

A leading charity has published a report highlighting how disabled people could be affected by next month’s crucial vote.

Papworth Trust hopes the report ‘The EU and Disabled People’ will inform debate and lay out the issues for disabled people to consider ahead of next month’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The report contains information about the relationship between the EU and disability in the UK as well as what the two rival campaigns are saying ahead of the vital decision.

Voters will be choosing whether to stay or leave the EU on Thursday 23 June.

Vicky McDermott, Papworth Trust chief executive, said: “This is a very important issue that will affect the future of the United Kingdom and everybody in it for decades to come.

“Although this is a decision that could have significant consequences for disabled people, almost nothing has so far been made available publicly about the potential impact of the vote on the 12 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability who live in the UK. This report has been produced with this in mind in order to help inform the debate.”

The report reveals that there are significant pieces of legislation that affect disabled people which could be scrapped if Britain left the EU and replaced with something else.

There are also arguments that the UK treats its disabled people far better than any other EU Member State and so Britain could do a better job at legislating to protect disabled people, if it were free from the EU.

“It’s vitally important that disability is discussed before the vote, so that disabled people are fully aware of the impact on their lives of both results,” added Ms McDermott.

Voters with a disability are entitled to assistance in gaining access to their polling station and assistance in marking their ballot paper. Visually impaired voters are also entitled to see a large-print version of the ballot paper and to ask for a tactile voting device.

The report can be viewed at http://www.papworthtrust.org.uk/EU-disability-report.

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