Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Disability Discrimination Amendments Proceed in UK Parliament

See this article about the pending legislation, which would expand the DDA's very narrow definition of disability. Interesting that it's the House of Lords that wants to make the definition even broader than the Government's bill would:

MPs rejected moves tonight to extend disability rights to people who suffer bouts of depression – setting up a last-ditch battle to save discrimination laws from collapse.

Ministers are fast running out of time to get the measures onto the statute book before the end of the present Parliament – expected tomorrow.

But today they refused to bow to pressure from peers to amend the Disability Discrimination Bill – setting up a showdown between the two Houses.

The Bill makes it unlawful to discriminate against a disabled person in relation to employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services, and the disposal and management of premises.

It also extends the definition of disability to people with HIV infection, multiple sclerosis or cancer.

The House of Lords changed the legislation to make it apply to people who had suffered debilitating depression, recovered but then relapsed into further bouts.

Minister for Disabled People Maria Eagle said the Government had “thought long and hard” about the change but could not accept it.

“Fundamentally, it undermines the most basic principle of the Disability Discrimination Act that a disability has to be a long-term or permanent condition.


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