Scottish Government figures reflect that one in five people of working age (1 million, or 19%) in Scotland are disabled.   The Equalities Act defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities.





Life costs more if you are disabled. Research by the disability charity Scope (2014) estimates that on average, disabled people spend £550 a month as a consequence of their disability although nearly a fifth pay over £800 and tenth pay £1000.  These extra costs arise from disability-related expenditure, including higher heating bills, buying specialised equipment, paying for taxis to get around or covering higher insurance premiums.

Cabinet Office statistics (source) show that disabled people have fewer qaulifications, are less likely to be in work and less likely to be in full time work. It is also known that disabled people have on average £108,000 fewer savings and assets than non-disabled people. A. McKnight , London School of Economics (2014).

These higher living costs, reduced employment and lower financial reserves often combine so that disabled people are more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to suffer poor mental health as a result.



The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities details the rights of disabled people and acts to enforce, protect and promote them. However despite this, people with physical and mental health conditions are regularly stigmatised and discriminated against.

Scope research (2014) showed that

  • Two thirds (67%) of the British public feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people.
  • Over a third (36%) of people tend to think of disabled people as not as productive as everyone else.
  • Over four fifths (85%) of the British public believe that disabled people face prejudice.
  • A quarter (24%) of disabled people have experienced attitudes or behaviours where other people expected less of them because of their disability.
  • One fifth (21%) of 18 – 34 years old admit that they have actually avoided talking to a disabled person because they weren’t sure how to communicate with them.


Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Capability Scotland, ENABLE Scotland, RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People, Scotland), SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Sense Scotland have collaborated since 1983 when they formed a strategic alliance under the auspices of Disability Agenda Scotland.  

Supported by a Policy and Campaigns Manager and volunteer staff, DAS brings together the experience, expertise and resources of its members to promote the interests and views of the disabled people they consult and represent. (more – go to how we work)


DAS aims to promote the interests of disabled people whose views have difficulty reaching into the mainstream of public policy. This may be because people are not involved in consultation processes, are not included in or have no influence on lobby groups, have communication support needs which are not met or are poorly understood, or they may simply not be asked.

In January 2016, DAS conducted a series of focus groups engaging directly with disabled people who access services through our members.  The range of topics was diverse including attitudes in society, accessing support and services, civic life and the challenges of living with a disability.  The report will be published shortly and its findings used to inform the DAS Manifesto.




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