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Progressive And Hereditary Illnesses

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make it her policy to promote protection of employees with progressive illnesses from being dismissed, from the point when symptoms are diagnosed; [113907](2) if she will make it her policy to promote employment protection for people with hereditary conditions. [113908]

I have been asked to reply.The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) already protects from discrimination in employment, and other areas, a great many people who are disabled from progressive and hereditary conditions. This protection will be significantly extended as a result of draft Regulations we laid on 8 May 2003 under the European Communities Act 1972 which would ensure that, in October 2004, the DDA"s employment provisions will cover over a million more employers as well as occupations such as the police, barristers and partners in partnerships. We are also considering, for inclusion in a draft Disability Bill that we will publish later this year, extending the DDA"s approach to progressive conditions to cover more people with cancer and HIV.