Survey of the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disability – EASPD Inclusion is the Solution not the Enemy

The research shows that there is a shared perception that the crisis has a multi-facetted impact, as it affects long-term strategies, annual work plans as well as operational programmes concerning service providers for people with disabilities.

In January 2012, EASPD surveyed its members on the impact of the financial and economic crisis on the disability sector, specifically with regards to the delivery of services to persons with disabilities.

The survey was completed by organisations from right across the EASPD network. The replies give powerful evidence about the significant negative impact of the crisis. Respondents cover a wide geographic area, 18 countries. These include both EU Member States and neighbouring countries (Macedonia, Moldova, Norway), representatives of all regions of Europe (West, North, South, East).

EASPD members show that the crisis affects:

  • Long-term disability strategies (59%);
  • Annual disability plans and programmes (69%)
  • Operational programmes concerning service providers for people with disabilities (72%)

Significant reductions are observed in public budget for social services in 2011: up to minus 80% in public budget available for services at local or regional level (in 2011 vs. 2010).

Nevertheless it is also very worrying to note that a majority of respondents observed an impact of the crisis on long-term disability strategies. This figure tends to show that the importance given to the disability issue by governments is decreasing. This will seriously undermine existing and planned actions to make the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the EU Disability Strategy reality.

EASPD is convinced that a political agenda to protect and develop inclusion, supported by high quality services is needed. We believe that this is both a human rights approach AND AT THE SAME TIME a positive contribution to the financial crisis. It is a dual investment. Therefore we call on EU authorities to fully use their statutory competences to facilitate that approach.

EASPD calls policy-makers to support infrastructure to prepare our future and to prevent re-institutionalisation. EASPD considers that helping the social care sector will help also society and that supporting the social care sector will engender a twofold response to the crisis!

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