More Govt commitment needed to improve effect of Equality Act

Thu,7 July 2016
News Equality & Rights

Our view on the Government Response to the House of Lords Select Committee Report on the Equality Act 2010's impact on disabled people.

Disability Rights UK - based on our members’ experience and testimony – gave extensive evidence to the House of Lords on how the Equality Act is and is not working for disabled people. The Government has now responded

We are disappointed that on many of the Lords’ sensible recommendations, the Government’s response is either non-committal or negative. For instance:

  • On the recommendation to consider the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in all new policy, the Government’s response is essentially that this is already in hand (when we know policy is repeatedly passed without proper consideration of what it will mean for disabled people’s rights under the Convention – for instance, preventing people from participating in the community, under Article 19, through restricting social care support and changes to mobility support via PIP)
  • The Lords made powerful arguments on the Public Sector Equality Duty, stating that ‘a public authority can make no progress towards the aims of the general duty and yet be judged compliant with it by the courts’. They recommended that these authorities should have to take ‘proportionate steps’ to act on their plans (not just have plans). The Government responded only by saying that they would consider a future review of the PSED

We welcome however the decision by Government to implement sections of the Equality Act on taxis that have never been implemented.

Our organisations have campaigned for many years for implementation of these parts of the Act.

This should mean that wheelchair users will be provided with the assistance they need to access taxis and private hire vehicles, and that they can no longer be charged extra.

The House of Lords rightly commented on this issue that ‘Ministers should be considering the burden on disabled people trying to take taxis, not the burden on taxi owners or drivers’.