Grey-Thompson: Brexit would hit disability rights plans

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Tanni Grey-Thompson

Former Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson has warned leaving the European Union would prevent British people with disabilities benefiting from plans to boost accessibility.

She said it would also risk a recession that would leave less money to be spent on support services.

A Vote Leave Cymru spokesman said the UK acted to tackle disability discrimination before the EU.

He claimed some other governments in the EU had a poor record on the issue.

The Welsh Remain campaign, Wales Stronger In Europe, argues that leaving the EU would mean British people would not benefit from plans to boost accessibility.

This includes the European Accessibility Act, which could create a mechanism to ensure manufacturers and suppliers of products such as computers and phones would need to comply with agreed accessibility standards.


Baroness Grey-Thompson said: "Our membership of the European Union has had real, positive benefits for the millions of UK residents with limiting long-term illnesses, impairments or disabilities.

"It has helped to counter workplace discrimination, obliged transport providers to make their services more accessible and secured access to some UK disability benefits for Britons living in other EU countries.

"Not only would leaving Europe jeopardise these, it would close us off from enjoying the rewards of upcoming legislation that will further increase accessibility and risk a recession that would leave less money to be spent on much-needed support services."

Vincent Bailey, spokesman for Vote Leave Cymru said: "It's worth remembering that the UK acted to tackle disability discrimination long before the EU, and that we provide for much more extensive rights.

"The Disability Act, for example, was passed by Parliament in 1995 - some eight years before EU legislation first came into force that deals only with employment discrimination.

"In fact, EU governments have a terrible track record in protecting the disabled, and certainly should not be able to influence our policy in this area."