Statement on Down Syndrome Bill

Date:25th November 2021

Down’s Syndrome Scotland (DSS) wholeheartedly welcomes the publication of the Down Syndrome Bill with its intention to improve the outcomes and provisions for people with Down’s syndrome. The Bill has its second reading in Westminster this Friday, 26th November 2021.

Speaking after meeting with Kevin Stewart MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Eddie McConnell, Chief Executive of the charity in Scotland commended the parents who have fought hard to bring about the changes in England.  He said: “The Down Syndrome Bill has the potential to be a landmark moment in advancing the rights of people with Down’s syndrome. Earlier this week I met with the Minister responsible for learning disability strategy in Scotland to discuss the Bill and the Scottish Government’s own plans to improve opportunities, outcomes and support for people with Down’s syndrome, living in Scotland.”

He continued: “It feels like we are opening a new chapter in Scotland with the Scottish Government’s commitment to publish a Learning Disability Bill that will ensure the rights of people with Down’s syndrome are respected and protected.  The Bill in Scotland will start its scoping work early next year and will seek the input of people with lived experience, including people with Down’s syndrome. The Bill will also create a new role of Commissioner for Learning Disability in Scotland and it will seek improvements across health, education and employment for people with Down’s syndrome, amongst others.

These new powers and provisions build on work already underway in Scotland to bring about lasting change for people with Down’s syndrome and their families and carers who continue to be affected disproportionately by the pandemic.  We will work collaboratively with all interested parties, in Scotland and throughout the UK, who share our ambition to transform the lives of everyone living with Down’s syndrome, including support for their families and carers.”

For any press enquiries regarding this matter please contact Rory Gaffney at rory@dsscotland.org.uk or 07825 586 444.

Notes:

  1. The Down Syndrome Bill is a private members Bill that is being brought forward by Dr Liam Fox MP who has received the backing of the UK Government ahead of the second reading of the Bill at Westminster on Friday 26th November 2021.
  2. The Government in Scotland has committed to the provision of a Bill on Learning Disability, Autism and Neurodiversity within its current Programme for Government and to the creation of a Commissioner role for Learning Disability, Autism and Neurodiversity.
  3. Down’s Syndrome Scotland is the national charity in Scotland advancing the rights of people with Down’s syndrome living in Scotland. It has over 1,300 members and nine local branches and it provides direct support to families and carers, and to children, young people and adults with Down’s syndrome.  The charity works in partnership with many organisations to challenge perceptions and raise awareness of the potential of everyone who just happens to have an extra chromosome.