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Disability discrimination laws to be extended in 2004

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Business woman in wheelchair

Minister for Disabled People, Maria Eagle, today called time on discrimination against disabled people in society.

As the Government published a review of what it has achieved during European Year of Disabled People, Maria Eagle said: “2004 looks set to be a watershed in terms of civil rights for disabled people. From October, service providers will have new duties to tackle physical barriers that prevent disabled people accessing their services. The exemption of small employers and occupations such as the police, fire and prison services from employment duties will also be ended.”

She continued: “Add to this pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Disability Discrimination Bill and we are sending out the strongest signal yet that discrimination against disabled people is unacceptable.”

Highlights of today’s report ‘Government and the European Year of Disabled People 2003: A year of progress’ include:

  • Regulations taken through Parliament to end the exemption of small employers from the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and to clarify the rights of blind and partially sighted people under the DDA.

  • Publication of the draft Disability Discrimination Bill to extend the DDA in relation to the public sector, premises and people with HIV, cancer or MS.
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