New bill to strengthen disability law

A private member’s bill intended to strengthen current
disability legislation has been presented to the House of Lords,
writes Katie Leason.

Lord Ashley of Stoke welcomed the second reading of his
Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to amend
the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Disability Rights
Commission Act 1999.

He said the bill’s aim was to create “a pervasive attitude so
that discrimination is totally unacceptable…there is a great
deal of good will in the government, but good will does not protect
disabled people”.

Lord Ashley’s bill includes proposals to ensure that people with
HIV are included in the definition of who is disabled from the
point of diagnosis. It would also give the Disability Rights
Commission power to provide assistance to individuals bringing
claims under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Other clauses would ensure that the Disability Discrimination
Act covers all employers regardless of the number of employees, as
well as the police, prison officers, firefighters and the armed

But a spokesperson for the department for work and pensions said
that the government did not believe that Lord Ashley’s bill
was the “right vehicle at the right time” for taking forward







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