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Equality Bill

Volume 717: debated on Monday 8 February 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what would be the estimated cost of making provision in the Equality Bill for partially sighted people so they are not disadvantaged by failures to make adjustments for disabled persons. [HL1694]

The reasonable adjustment duty in the Equality Bill requires employers, those providing services and exercising public functions to make reasonable adjustments when disabled people are placed at a substantial disadvantage. The duty applies in respect of all disabled people including people with sensory impairments who are at a substantial disadvantage when accessing information.

This is not a new duty, having been introduced incrementally between 1996 and 2004, and is carried forward from the Disability Discrimination Act with one substantive change. The Equality Bill introduces a common threshold of “substantial disadvantage” for the duty; this is the threshold which currently applies in the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. The threshold which currently applies in respect of services and public functions is higher.

The impact assessment for the Equality Bill, copies of which are available in the Library, includes the costs of new policy or changes to policy. It does not cost existing polices being imported into the Bill. Accordingly it costs the introduction of the lower “substantial disadvantage” threshold. The costs, which are aggregated and are not broken down by type of impairment, are estimated in the range of £2 million to £6 million per year.