“No deal” Brexit threatens all disabled people

by Glen Plant and Madeleine Plant | 14.10.2019

We are a disabled father and daughter long concerned about the implications of any “no-deal Brexit” for the wellbeing of the disabled. Madi, for example, (whose primary condition alone prevents 90% of sufferers working at all) would face a “double whammy” of drug supply-chain disruption and further loss of EU27 colleagues at her busy London NHS hospital where she is a full-time nurse.

Although a no-deal Brexit has been a government policy scenario for some time (and a central one under the current Prime Minister), it emerged in late June that no department/ministry has conducted a “disability equality” Impact Assessment (EqIA) legally required by the Equalities Act 2010. Our three letters to relevant Ministers seeking release (or conduct and release) of such an assessment, to enable public debate to identify mitigation measures, have been ignored. There are now barely two weeks to “do or die” Exit Day.

122 days before Exit Day, we raised the government’s apparent breach with the Commission on Equality and Human Rights (EHRC), the UN-recognised human rights and equalities body for Great Britain. It has both responsibility and powers to hold this Conservative government to account, exactly as it is investigating anti-semitism in Labour.

The EHRC have been obtuse, inflexible and procrastinating. They refuse to enforce, although an EqIA would fit their new three-year strategic plans as well as (or be an exception to it as meritorious as) the recent anti-semitism in Labour investigation (which, incidentally, they have declined to extend also to disability). While other work areas in the plan (e.g. access to education and public transport) are important, no single decision will impact the lives of the disabled to anything like the extent of any no-deal Brexit.

But the failure to protect one-fifth of the population, including many of its sickest, poorest and most vulnerable is a dereliction of duty. These months’ long effort have taken a toll on us, so we are seeking the widest possible public support for our call for an EqIA.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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Edited by James Earley

Categories: UK Politics

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