Article by Jeanne Freeman
More than a million disabled people contribute to Scotland’s communities adding talent, diversity and richness to our society. Yet too many are unable to make the contribution they want, or live their lives as they want to – including having meaningful employment – because there are barriers in their way. Our job is to work together to remove those barriers.

Of course businesses have a vital role to play in this, but it is also up to the Scottish Government and the public sector to lead by example. That is why events like the Scottish Disability Congress on Monday are so important; to share ideas, best practice and celebrate progress.

The Congress was a specific action in A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People, the delivery plan we published in December 2016.

The plan states that we will take action to at least halve the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the working population, that we will offer the highest level of financial support to disabled Modern Apprentices and that we will pilot a work experience programme specifically for young disabled people.

And we are making real, meaningful progress.

We have launched Fair Start Scotland, our new devolved and wholly voluntary employment support service and have committed an additional £20m per annum over the next three years to this service over and above the funding received from the UK Government.

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