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Equality: Disability

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 7 December 2006

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Anne McGuire) has made the following Statement.

In July this year I announced my decision to create Equality 2025. This is a new advisory body to help Government understand the needs and wishes of disabled people when developing policies and designing service delivery, recommended in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Report Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People. Equality 2025 will:

work with the Government to help them achieve the aim of equality for disabled people by 2025;

provide advice and information from disabled people based upon the values underpinning the work of the network and the views and experiences of disabled people;

advise government departments on how they can engage effectively and meaningfully with disabled people;

assist the Government in raising awareness of disabled people and their rights, improving attitudes towards them and challenging negative stereotypes in the media and the wider community;

help ensure that public bodies are meeting their legal duties under the DDA in relation to the Disability Equality Duty; and

advise Government on the implementation and maintenance of international treaties and conventions within the UK.

Equality 2025 will not replace existing departmental arrangements for involving disabled people in policy-making, but supplement them. It will work closely with other advisory bodies such as the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) and DEAC.

I am delighted to advise the House that the recruitment exercise for membership of this exciting new body is now complete and today I will launch Equality 2025. Initially there will be 21 members who are all disabled people. Between them, they bring a wide range of skills and experiences that will enable them to look at all issues from an equalities view point rather than being representative of any disability or organisation. Equality 2025 will hold its first meeting tomorrow, Friday 8 December, and will aim to produce its first annual work plan in the spring 2007. Members' biographical details are available on the Office for Disability Issues website at or contact the secretariat at: Equality 2025, Office for Disability Issues Level 6, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam St, London, WC2N 6HT.

The advisory group that helped create Equality 2025 has produced a report containing all its recommendations for Equality 2025. I have placed this report and the Government's response in the Libraries of both Houses.