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Transforming lives Through Jesus With Disabled People
Through the Roof 2016 > Blogs > Briefing on the EU Referendum from a Disability Standpoint (Ros’ Blog)

Briefing on the EU Referendum from a Disability Standpoint (Ros' Blog)

Briefing on the EU Referendum from a Disability Standpoint (Ros' Blog)

It is a little over a month to the EU referendum, and I suspect I’m not alone in thinking that the standard of content of the debate has been dismally low. There have been ever more extravagant predictions of disaster from both sides. I almost expected the Prime Minister to end his speech the other day, like Private Fraser from Dad’s Army, with a macabre “We’re all dooooooomed”! At the same time, the Leave campaign has portrayed a Britain that remains in the EU as an eviscerated state with no sovereignty, overrun by European migrants, conveniently forgetting that Britons in the EU claim more in benefits than do citizens of other EU countries in Britain.
So how do we find any accurate information, or at least informed opinion? And in particular, how do we know what will be the likely effects on disabled people of leaving or remaining in the EU? And finally, how as Christians should we be praying for the outcome of the referendum?

I have spent some time researching online how disabled people are likely to feel the impact of the result, whichever way it goes. And, as with most aspects of this debate, there is little out there other than biased and largely uninformed speculation. However, among all this some people are making a few good points, although of course none of us can truly predict with any accuracy what the effects will be for the disabled citizens of our nation; only time will really tell.

Through the Roof is a strictly non-political organisation. We have no interest in supporting any particular political party, nor in taking sides in the referendum debate. But we can play a useful role in setting out the salient issues on both sides of the argument which will affect our supporters. To that end, here are some of the better thought out arguments I have come across.

In favour of remaining in the EU

I have found the following facts which are relevant to disabled peoples’ interests, and which would favour remaining in the EU:

  • Treatments have been developed through European research for diseases so rare that no one country could have done it alone, highlighting the benefits of being a part of the EU1
  • In 2015, 87,000 British disabled people were helped towards employment through training paid for by European Social Funding2
  • The EU has implemented measures against forced institutionalisation of disabled people3
  • There have been many occasions when European legislation has been ahead of the UK’s or what the UK was prepared to deliver on disability rights4
  • British people can currently visit any country within the EU and be guaranteed the same health services at the same cost as a local resident, thanks to the European Health Insurance Card5

And I have found the following reasonably well informed opinions which favour remaining in the EU from a disability standpoint: