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Agenda:

Like almost every other disabled person, I have fought for everything I have.

I fought to get to school, get to university, get an income, get a house, get a care package and even fought to have friends.

There are times when I could have given up, times when I could easily have thought 'this is not for me'. It was other disabled people, in the student movement, in the Disability Movement, in our trade union movement and in the Labour Party, who taught me to keep the faith.

It is because of this shared struggle against discrimination, inequality, injustice and human rights abuses and our shared power to challenge them, that I'm voting No on September 18.

We cannot ever be complacent, or take our eye off the ball. Inequality knows no borders and together we can and must continue to fight it. Times are tough for disabled people - everywhere. Now is not the time to turn our attentions away from the things that oppress us - discrimination, injustice, inequality, and stigma - or to turn our backs on our friends and family in the rest of UK.

We should not forget our past and the battles we have won together. It is disabled people across the rest of the UK who stood shoulder to shoulder with us to secure the rights we work desperately to uphold and protect today.

Now some may say this denies the problem and the scale of it. Make no mistake, I know, I feel, I hear, I experience; how tough it is, our hard-fought rights are threatened. But to use our energy, our passion, our resilience, to fight our country not our oppression, denies the real problem and diverts our energy.

Some have argued the only way out of this is separation. They have argued even the risks - and there are many - are worth it because we have nothing to lose. But the thing is, we do, and so do disabled people across the rest of the UK.

A separate Scotland's economy would be overwhelmingly reliant on oil. Oil has been great for Scotland but it is a volatile resource. The latest figures show oil revenue has fallen by £800 million - the equivalent of every family doctor in Scotland.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated a separate Scotland would face an extra £6 billion of spending cuts. That is half of our NHS budget. The impartial experts at Fiscal Affairs Scotland have calculated a separate Scotland could be up to £900 per person worse off. Currently public spending in Scotland is £1,200 per head higher than in other parts of the UK.

Public spending cuts impact on most on those with the least. I do not want to risk the support we can give on uncosted promises and unanswered questions.

Unanswered questions like what system will be in place of DLA or PIP? Because yes, I too fear what happens when the assessors come to my door, but it's the assessment that's broken, not the country.

What of our charities and organisations, the life blood of our movement? Can they stand up to the upheaval, will they be able to continue without Big Lottery funding? And crucially, what will become of our movement? What about disabled people in Manchester and London, are we content to leave them to fight their battles - battles that are ours too - fewer and weaker?

The problem for disabled people is - as it was before and as it will be after September 18 - that we are not treated as equals, people fear us, we are stigmatised, we are not afforded basic human rights. We know our movement has won what it has, through fighting oppression, not our country.

Disabled people up and down the UK need each other now, more than ever. We must face our oppressors, together, united and stronger. We cannot give up on our strength and shared history. We can and will challenge injustice, inequality and stigma, and we will win.

Let us keep the faith and win our fight for the tens of millions of disabled people across the UK, because we achieve more through our common endeavour than we ever could alone. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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