Private member’s bill goes to Lords

A bill intended to strengthen current
disability legislation was presented to the House of Lords last

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” .

Ashley’s private member’s bill includes
proposals to ensure that people with HIV/Aids 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 will ensure that the Disability
Discrimination Act covers all employers regardless of the number of
employees, as well as the police, prison officers, fire fighters
and the armed forces. Also transport providers will have an
obligation not to discriminate and to make reasonable adjustments
to make transport accessible.

Kate Nash, director of disability network
Radar, welcomed the bill saying it represented “a shift to
requiring a proactive approach from employers and service

But a spokesperson for the Department for Work
and Pensions said that the government did not believe that Ashley’s
bill was the “right vehicle at the right time” for taking forward

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