Many disability rights and protections we take for granted have come about as a consequence of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU law – for example:

After Brexit, the Government says the body of existing EU law will be converted into UK law – and “wherever practical and appropriate”, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after we leave the EU as they did before.[1]

BUT the Government proposes to take the UK out of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and remove the legal standing of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) – whose judgments have enhanced disability protections in the past.

For example, in 2008 the ECJ made discrimination against employees due to their carer status or relationship to a disabled person unlawful in England, Scotland and Wales (Coleman v Attridge Law).

After Brexit, the Government would be free to ignore future judgments like this if it wanted to.

And without the underpinning of EU law, there would be nothing to stop future Governments removing or diluting safeguards for disabled people, if they decide they are too costly or otherwise undesirable.

In addition:


  • No assessment has yet been made about the impact of Brexit on funding
    • whether EU grant funding may still be available
    • what will happen to disabled people if funding is withdrawn
    • where funding will come from in the future
  • The National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) estimates that UK charities receive over £300 million in EU funding every year
  • EU funding provides pre-employment and skills training to disadvantaged groups – including disabled people

[1] Brexit White Paper ‘The United Kingdom’s Exit from, and new partnership with, the European Union’ Department for Exiting the European Union 15 May 2017