As the EU referendum campaign begins its final week before the vote on Thursday, many people on both sides of the debate will breathe a sigh of relief that’s it’s nearly over.
The shocking murder of Jo Cox will hopefully lead to a more dignified conclusion to the campaign.
SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living took the decision fairly early on in the campaign to support the Remain In side of the debate. We are pleased to see that the majority of Disabled People’s Organisations who have expressed a view have joined our position that Disabled People’s lives have been improved by Britain being in the European Union and that our rights will be protected better by remaining in the EU.
As one of our closest allies, John Evans has pointed out, many of the laws around accessibility and human rights have originated within the EU. Whilst none of these laws would change overnight if we were to leave, there is a clear and present danger that Disabled People’s rights and entitlements would be undermined if we were to leave the European Union.
We are aware that migration is an issue that many people feel strongly about, however one of the strengths of Britain is the diversity of our different communities. SPECTRUM has always felt that diversity should be celebrated and welcomed. Southampton, the city where SPECTRUM is based, has many citizens from other EU countries. Over 10% of staff at Southampton General Hospital are from other EU countries. Dedicated doctors, nurses as well as other support staff who keep our NHS running. Many EU citizens work in the social care sector too, supporting Disabled People to live independent lives within society. Despite this, locally we have real difficulties recruiting staff to work in social care. How much worse will be the recruitment crisis if Britain leaves the EU.
SPECTRUM has made a short video interviewing our CEO, Ian Loynes.
We will also posting a list of links you may want to look at, ahead of the vote on Thursday, to inform your decision.
SPECTRUM thinks you should vote to remain, but we believe Disabled People should think through the options and make their own decision. Think about what matters to you. Do you want to live in a country that respects equality and human rights? Do you welcome diversity within your community and reject prejudice?
It’s now up to YOU! As Berni Vincent, our Volunteer and Training manager, said ‘I think Disabled People should most definitely vote. Our votes have been hard won over time. Together we are stronger.’