Activists to meet commission over bill

    Disability campaigners were due to meet the Disability Rights
    Commission this week to discuss their concerns about the draft
    Disability Discrimination Bill after staging a five-hour protest in
    the commission’s Manchester office last month.

    About 25 members of the Direct Action Network conducted the protest
    to raise the issue of independent living and to complain that the
    bill did not represent the views of disabled people.

    They met DRC chief executive Bob Niven and asked him to sign a
    letter to the prime minister calling for the right to independent
    living to be included in the bill. Niven phoned DRC chairperson
    Bert Massie but did not sign the letter.

    DAN member Tom Comerford said that, despite the Disability
    Discrimination Act 1995, disabled people were still treated like
    second class citizens. “We know there are lots of people who can’t
    go on transport, can’t get rehoused and can’t get into
    employment… so we want some teeth in the bill.”

    He added that DAN also wanted the DRC to be “fully independent”
    arguing that it was currently too close to the government.

    Niven said the DRC believed the bill could be strengthened but
    warned that the letter was unlikely to achieve this.

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