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Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms are in place to assess the likely effect of proposed legislation on people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement. (153751)

To meet the requirements of the Disability Equality Duty, Government Departments must assess the likely impact of proposed legislation on disability equality. The disability equality duty, which was introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, came into force on 4 December 2006. It requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate disability discrimination and promote disability equality when carrying out their functions.

The general duty applies across the full range of public sector activity, including service delivery, policy making, procurement and performance management. Additional duties are imposed by regulations on certain public authorities, including all Government Departments, to produce and implement a disability equality scheme in which the authority must set out its methods for assessing the impact on equality for disabled people of its proposed policies and practices.

While the Disability Equality Duty provides the framework for assessing the impact of policies on disabled people the precise mechanism for carrying out the assessments is up to each Government Department to determine and set out in their scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled people are resident in the UK; what mechanisms are used to estimate that figure; and if he will make a statement. (153752)

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that there are over 10 million disabled people in Britain.

This estimate covers the number of people with a longstanding illness, disability or infirmity, and who have a significant difficulty with day-to-day activities. It is based on data taken from the Family Resources Survey (FRS).

Everyone in this group would meet the definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA); however, these estimates do not reflect the total number of people covered by the DDA as the FRS does not collect this information.

The estimates are based on sample counts that have been adjusted for non-response using multi-purpose grossing factors which align the FRS to Government Office Region populations by age and sex. Estimates are subject to sampling error and remaining response bias.

The Government's vision is that by 2025 all disabled people should have the same opportunities and choices as everyone else, be respected as equal members of society and be able to participate as equals in every aspect of family and community life.