DISABLED residents are being unfairly treated according to the chairman of East Renfrewshire Disability Action (ERDA).

Michael McEwan has been speaking out ahead of his first monthly column submission to the Barrhead News.

Michael has taken it upon himself to speak for the mentally and physically disabled people of East Renfrewshire.

And as well as organising events and clubs such as disability friendly football games, he has also been outspoken on the "negative" impact that welfare changes from Westminster are having on the disabled community.

However he hopes that organisations such as ERDA can help mitigate the effects.

He said: "It is important there is a local disability organisation to raise the issues and concerns of disabled people at a local and national level.

This has been the case since our beginning, but has become even more so as disabled people are disproportionally negatively impacted by the unfair and unjust Westminster welfare cuts, increased charges and changes to various local authority services which they use.

"Their policies and decisions maintain and reinforce the social, physical, attitudinal, cultural and economic barriers that prevent disabled people taking up our rightful roles as full and equal citizens.

"We are currently campaigning to address the lack of wheelchair accessible taxis here in East Renfrewshire.

"You might have noticed that, in recent weeks, this newspaper has been running stories about this and I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the Barrhead News for their support."

The number of wheelchair friendly taxis in East Renfrewshire was recorded as being the lowest in Scotland per head compared to every other local authority, forcing many people to call private hire firms outwith the local area.

However since ERDA's campaign got under way and The News began its coverage, at least one more taxi has been brought into use with wheelchair access.

Michael continued: "We work in partnership and formed a subcommittee with Self Directed Support East Renfrewshire, to highlight and address the closure of the independent living fund.

"We challenged the local Community Health and Care Partnership's increased charges to the blue badge scheme and we managed to successfully stop a proposed price increase to the holiday programme for disabled children in East Renfrewshire.

"Also, working in partnership with East Renfrewshire carers, we held a hustings event for the 2011 Scottish Parliament election and for the local council council elections in 2012.

"We have contributed to various consultations at local and national and we also helped to secure the provision of accessible play equipment in both Carlibar and Rouken Glen Park.

"We also participate in East Renfrewshire Council's work to mitigate the impact of welfare reform on disabled people.

"So as you can see we have been busy and are always on the lookout for new members. You can also be able-bodied to join."

"For more information, please see our website at www.erda.org.uk."