18 Sept, 2002
A government bill that would bring discrimination law more closely in line with legislation covering race, gender and religion looks set to be sidelined, E-Access Bulletin has learned.
According to the RNIB, the bill was designed to implement recommendations made by the Department of Work and Pensions Disability Rights Task Force (www.disability.gov.uk/drtf) and was expected in the Commons during the new parliamentary session.
However, Caroline Ellis of the RNIB said this is now highly unlikely and the RNIB and Disability Rights Commission will now lobby sympathetic MPs to sponsor a Private Members Bill.
“When they’re not moving on these issues swiftly, the questions has to be – why not?” she said. “It’s a big blow. It looks like the government is losing momentum on disability.”
The government set up the Disability Rights Task Force in 1997 to advise on how to deliver its election pledges to the disabled, and initially appeared to support its conclusions (www.disability.gov.uk/drtf/towards_inclusion).
Accordingly, the new bill was expected to strengthen the Disability Discrimination Act and Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, both of which have been criticised by the RNIB and the Disability Rights Commission (fastlink.headstar.com/drc).
However, these plans now appear to have been sidelined. And concern
over the slow progress on disability legislation has been heightened by
government plans to replace the Disability Rights Commission with a single
watchdog for all anti-discrimination laws.
© 2002, E-Access Bulletin