The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC), together with a coalition of Scottish Disabled People’s organisations, have highlighted worsening poverty rates along with the consequences the cost of living crisis is having on disabled people's ability to live independently at home. 

In two parallel reports for the UN, they warn that increasing costs for using medical equipment and assistive technology is forcing some disabled people to make stark choices about how often they use such equipment.

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In some cases they say disabled people are being forced to choose between "eating or breathing", with the inevitable consequence that they are ending up in hospital or residential care.

The first 84-page report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) highlights key concerns about the lack of government progress in protecting the rights of disabled people in Scotland and the UK.

A supplementary report from the Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC) shares the lived experiences of disabled people. 


It warns that half (51%) of all people in poverty are living in a household with at least one disabled member, and that "devastating" cuts to social care during the Covid-19 pandemic have yet to be reversed leaving many with less support than they had pre-2020. 

The report also notes that six in 10 people who died with Covid in Scotland were disabled people, with many continuing to face social isolation as they try to avoid infection.

The employment gap for disabled people also remains high. In 2022, 82.5% of non-disabled were in employment compared to 50.7% of disabled people.

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It comes as the UN CRPD Committee reviews progress on the recommendations from its 2016 inquiry into the impacts of austerity measures on disabled people in UK.

That inquiry found that the UK was responsible for “grave or systemic violations” of disabled people’s rights.


Speaking on behalf of the SHRC, Jan Savage, its executive director said there was an "urgent need to address the barriers that disabled people face and the cumulative impact of these".

She added: “The Scottish Government has not done enough to ensure disabled people’s human rights are fully realised and we are pushing for protection of disabled people’s rights to employment, independent living and an adequate standard of living”.

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Dr Jim Elder-Woodward, independent chair of the Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC) said: “The 2016 Inquiry by the Committee on the Rights of Disabled People revealed the shocking toll that austerity measures were taking on disabled people across the UK.

"Now, seven years later, in many respects the situation is worse.

“The current cost of living crisis, in which the price of goods and services outpace the rise of income, comes after a decade of devastating cuts in public services, which support disabled people in the community.

"Our place in society has been further jeopardised by a pandemic response, which did not prioritise our human rights, and an approach to economic recovery that does not value us.”

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