Scottish disability charities up in arms over Newsnight report

Scottish disability charities up in arms over Newsnight report


Third Sector Magazine

By John Plummer



Disability charities have branded a BBC Newsnight report that accused them of failing disabled workers as mischievous and over-simplistic.


The programme’s Scottish edition broadcast a 10-minute story highlighting how many voluntary organisations employ fewer people with disabilities than some companies in the private sector.


RNIB Scotland, Capability Scotland, Sense Scotland, the Scottish Association for Mental Health and Guide Dogs for the Blind were cited as having fewer than 10 per cent disabled staff on their payroll.


An RNIB Scotland spokesman said the corporation had been mischievous in selecting retailer B&Q, a company with an outstanding record on disabled employment, as representative of the private sector.


‘If every company did as much as us, there wouldn’t be enough visually-impaired people to fill jobs,’ he said.  He added that the BBC had ignored their comments.


Michelle Hegarty, director of communications at Capability Scotland, said: ‘There are lots of hidden issues here -no one has to tell us they have a disability, and many people who may have a disability do not want the ‘label.’


But Sense Scotland admitted it wasn’t doing enough to recruit disabled people and Guide Dogs said it had launched an action plan to address the situation.