One of the largest disability organisations in Scotland has warned that no amount of safeguarding in new proposed assisted dying laws will offer “enough protections and guarantees to stop disabled people being helped or pressured to die.”

Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) said the proposals being taken through Holyrood by the Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur will make disabled Scots feel as if they are a "burden", particularly given financial pressures, with the cost-of-living crisis disproportionately affecting people with disabilities.

READ MORE: Cost-of-living crisis 'devastating' Glasgow's disabled

However, Mr McArthur has insisted that his Assisted Dying Bill is “measured and compassionate” and would only be open to those who are terminally ill.

“It’s a change in the law that commands majority public support, including amongst a majority of disabled people,” he told The Herald.

Mr McArthur’s Bill would introduce the right to an assisted death for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

It is the third time that an attempt has been made to introduce assisted dying in Scotland.

The legislation has been backed by 36 MSPs from the SNP, Labour, Greens, Tories and LibDems, and supporters are confident they have the number to get it onto the statute books when it comes to a vote.

Though the opposition is growing. Last week saw both First Minister Humza Yousaf and Health Secretary Michael Matheson come out against any change to the law.

READ MORE: Health Secretary Michael Matheson to oppose assisted dying law

Tressa Burke, the CEO of the Glasgow Disability Alliance told The Herald that disabled people in Scotland were already dying in higher numbers across Scotland “because of poverty, cuts to social care services and failing mental health services. And of course due to Covid.”

She added: “Disabled people’s rights are being decimated in this country. In March of this year, over £21m was cut from Glasgow’s social care budget, leaving many disabled people without essential support to eat, wash or go to the toilet.

“In the context of this complete disregard and dehumanisation of disabled people’s lives, there is no amount of safeguarding within the legislation that could offer enough protections to stop disabled people being pressured into assisted dying when no health, social care or other support is available.

“I have attended far too many funerals of GDA members who have died prematurely because of poverty and inequalities, including some who have taken their own lives due to state failures to support disabled people."

Ms Burke said the consequences of the legislation would be "that disabled people hear a message that we are a burden and feel a pressure to make the ‘choice’ to die."

She added: “Instead, disabled people need support to live full and enriched lives, alongside our neighbours, families and communities.”

READ MORE: Assisted suicide: Dozens of Scots go to Switzerland to die

Responding to the comments from the GDA chief, Mr McArthur said: "I agree wholeheartedly that the rights of disabled people need to be protected and extended but we do nothing to achieve this by denying dying people the right to greater choice. Instead, we force terminally ill people facing a bad death to make impossible choices.

“The law I propose is measured and compassionate; it puts safety and transparency in place where none currently exists.

“Crucially, disabled people would not be eligible to access it unless they were also terminally ill. It’s a change in the law that commands majority public support, including amongst a majority of disabled people.

“As I draft the proposed legislation, I’d invite any disability organisations who would like to find out more about the detail of the change I propose and the evidence behind it to meet with me to discuss their views.”