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Disability Discrimination Act

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to bring forward primary legislation to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and revise the definition of disability in line with the recommendations of the Disability Rights Task Force. [101006]

The Northern Ireland Executive consulted on three of the Disability Rights Task Force's recommendations on the definition of disability in "Improving Civil Rights for Disabled People" in September 2001.The majority of respondents to that consultation supported the recommendations on the definition: recognising HIV as a disability from the point at which it is diagnosed; recognising cancer (provided it is symptomatic) from the point of diagnosis as being a condition that is likely to require substantial treatment; and making it easier for people who are blind or partially sighted to be recognised as having a "disability" within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act.The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) will also be making recommendations to Government following their recent review of the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland. These may include further recommendations on the definition of disability.Any new recommendations from ECNI, will be considered and where agreed, will be taken forward in primary legislation with those Task Force recommendations already consulted on, in the context of the single Equality Bill. Consultation on proposals for the Bill will take place in the Autumn.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which government department in Northern Ireland will be responsible for preparing proposals to remove the transport exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and when the consultation process will begin. [101010]

The Department for Transport consulted on 29 November 2002 on the proposal to remove the exemption for transport services in Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in relation to GB. Once the outcome of this consultation is known it will be for the Department of the Environment and the Department for Regional Development to consider the implications for Northern Ireland and decide what action is appropriate. Any proposed action will be subject to public consultation in Northern Ireland but it is not yet possible to give a timescale for this.