06/09/2016 House of Lords


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 06/09/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



That they enter the date and he has a Commons. We will now be going over


to the House of Lords. You can watch all the coverage in the Lords after


the Daily Politics tonight. Our NAV was disappointed that the


Government response failed to acknowledge the problem which was


raised with the Committee that many enunciated system fitted on trains


are not switched on. They would like to see on trains such as are already


carried out buses. The Government response acknowledges the benefits


of AV information on buses but this is urgent that such systems are


expensive to fit. Evidence submitted to the Committee 's Stepford it adds


only 1% of the cost of a new boss. RNIB is very concerned that the bus


operators continue to recruit new buses that were not fitted AV


enhancement technology, for example in 2016, Leeds first was announced


at 37 new buses which are expected to be used for at least ten years


would enter service, none of them having annunciator system is that it


is. The Government stated in its response to a recommendation that it


has recently trialled vibrating wristbands to improve the


accessibility of bus travel. However there is reason to be sceptical


about this solution as it is still only at provision of concept stage.


RNIB believes that audiovisual technology is the most effective


solution, the technology is tried and tested and it has been proven to


make bus travel accessible for disabled passengers. It is already


in operation on all buses in London as well as in many other regions and


can be introduced to new buses inexpensively. The bus services Bill


currently awaiting Report Stage in your Lordships' house is the ideal


vehicle for the Government to legislate to ensure all new buses


are fitted with audiovisual technology. An amendment has been


tabled to the Bill to require all bus operators to provide information


to bus passengers in an accessible format. The Government is


considering the matter sympathetically and I very much hope


that they will accept the amendment to require operators to install AV


on all new buses. It is gratifying that this recommendation has been


highlighted by Lady Deitch, and I think most recently by Lady Brenton


and I hope that the Government has been listening and taking note. My


Lords, I do think the Noble Baroness, Baroness Deitch and her


Committee for the service they have done, not just the disabled


community, but also government and indeed society as a whole, in


producing such a comprehensive valuable and timely report. As two


bonuses have already pointed out, taking as it does, 21 years after


the then Conservative government's disability discrimination act. This


begs the question, which I feel in truth has probably been hanging over


this entire debate. Has that act at 21 years of age truly, of age?


Reading this report --, of age. Reading throughput and the various


responses to it, I think it is her it hasn't come of age. But


nonetheless, -- fair to say. I do welcome with real hope, based on my


work with her previously, the promotion of penny fault as Minister


for disabled people to Minister of State. There is in line with


recommendations seven, paragraph 115 of the report. I also welcome the


Government's acceptance that it is clearly reasonable to expect that


some effort be made to establish the cost of making an adjustment prior


to rejecting a request on such grounds rather than relying on


arbitrary and potentially inaccurate assumptions about cost. This being


in line with recommendations 17, paragraph 200 25. My Lords, I would


have liked to be able to welcome the equality and Human Rights


Commission's response to the crucial, in my view, recommendation


eight paragraph 137 of the report, that it engages with disabled people


and their organisations to co-produce a disability specific


action plan which other Noble Lords have already mentioned. I regret


that I can't do so, because commission mistakenly in my view has


said as we have already heard that it does not consider that a separate


co-produced action plan would be the most effective way forward. As a


former member of a national disability Council set up by my


noble friend from Richmond, when he was Mr, several people had taken the


then disability discrimination Bill through the House of Commons.


Despite the Council only being advisory, none the less it had a


disability specific focus. I also beg to differ, like the Noble


Baroness, Baroness Campbell and my noble friend Lord North but have


already done. I also do not understand the position taken by the


commission on recommendation that name, paragraph 144 rejecting the


need to re-establish the disability Committee as a decision-making body.


And to ring fence specific resources for the Committee. Surely both are


essential if the commission is to enjoy the confidence of the


disability community and an important consideration which I


don't feel the commission has really taken into account, I therefore urge


the commission to reconsider their response to both recommendations


eight and nine. And indeed I would respectfully urge the Government to


encourage them to do so. The Conservative government that brought


ten the GGA in 1995 was right to ensure sharp disability focused


then, and notwithstanding the amalgamation since that time of


different commissions, including as we have already heard the disability


rights commission under the umbrella of the equality and Human Rights


Commission, this Conservative government would be right to ask now


that that sharp disability focus be maintained. I feel this is


particularly important given the Government's manifesto aim of


halving the disability employment gap. I Lords, I am not sure I


entirely shared the Government's optimism when it states in its


response that the concept of reasonable adjustment is now


familiar to employers and service providers. The concept they will be


familiar, but that is the case, then the old adage, that familiarity


breeds contempt remains all too often sadly true in my experience.


Awareness of a concept is not the same as awareness of a legal


obligation. I am all for maximising incentives by using carrots rather


than sticks where possible, but I do wonder whether carrots in the form


of it more guidance on how to make your business accessible have been


on Jews cropped very long time. To paraphrase -- on used. It isn't


going to get us very far. If they don't understand there has to be a


damn big stick behind that smile. Might I suggest that the Government


pursue a slightly more robust approach by introducing a steam of


tapered incentives for reasonable adjustment to be made, so for


example, business is to be told they have a certain number of years, I


only take the figure five as Brandon, it could be more or less,


to make the necessary adjustments with a declining tax break for the


first three years, no tax break in the fourth, and a tax penalty led by


government, any noncompliance in the 50th. Obviously the -- fifth year.


Obviously the Government would need to work in partnership with trade


bodies, disability organisations and other disability aims to make


service providers and particularly SMEs are aware that reasonable


adjustments need not cost the earth. Might I also suggest that any


guidance produced to publicise the scheme has, as its title, the simple


message, the law is the law, it pays not to break. My Lords, this report


shows that after 21 years after the disability discrimination act was


passed, we still need to join the dots. I wonder if I could welcome


the Government's stated commitment in paragraph four of the preamble to


its response to improving attitudes. I also welcome its restated


commitment to taking steps to implement the UN Convention on the


rights of Persons with disabilities. And they clear acknowledgement that


such a commitment means that all government departments need to


consider what the Convention says when developing a policy that


affects disabled people, including in the case of the UN Convention


disability before birth. This is particularly important, because I am


concerned that one department, the Department of Health, may be in


breach of at least the spirit if not the letter of that convention, as it


relates to disability before birth. If this excellent report is to have


a lasting impact, if we are too submitted to policy, we must allow


disabled babies to have a future to enjoy equality. At the moment many


of them do not. They said, shocking fact is that a diagnosis of


disability in the womb means they are all too often lucky to make it


out alive. Disability discrimination may have been outlawed after birth


21 years ago, but for disability diagnosed before birth,


discrimination remains enshrined in 2016 in the law of our land. Take


down syndrome, for example. 90%, 90% of Down's syndrome diagnoses result


in termination. That figure is likely to increase if the Department


of Health improves the national screening Committee's recommendation


that a test being produced to make it even easier to identify.


It is one thing to eradicate disability discrimination as this


excellent report powerfully shows the way forward for. It is an


entirely different thing to eradicate disability itself through


termination. But that is what is happening and not just on grounds of


severe handicap, to use the terminology of legislation. Not that


severity justifies discrimination. The Department of Health in 2015


records 11 terminations having been carried out for cleft palate, and


cleft chin, easily rectified able conditions. I asked my noble friend


the Minister if the Government wants to prove its commitment to tackling


the discriminatory attitudes, let it back by Private members Bill. Let it


make the time available so that my bill can reach its passage through


your Lordships' house and MPs, as people's elected representatives


have a chance to debate and vote on removing disability as grounds for


termination. My thoughts, in closing. We all know that some


reports not from your Lordships' house I hasten to add, absolutely


deserve to gather dust. This is not one of them. This report deserves to


be a living document to which we return on a regular basis and


against which we measure progress. I look forward to doing everything I


can to ensure that by eradicating disability discrimination in all


areas of life, after and before birth, with this report, we do


parliament and Society Justice in the years to come and help this


Government embark on real, lasting and inclusive social reform.


My Lords, it has been a great privilege to listen to this debate,


as much as it was to serve on the select committee. What the debate


has demonstrated is the extraordinary range of experiences


that members of our Lordships' house bring to the subject of disability


and I would like to thank every of them has spoken, particularly from


their own experiences in life, to be able to bring such light on the


subject. Almost every Speaker has revoked to our noble Baroness for


the way in which she chaired the committee. -- they have referred to


her. And the way that she introduced this debate today and I would like


to join them both in that respect. It was a remarkable committee,


chaired brilliantly by her. She should also be congratulated for


persuading the usual channels to hold this debate in prime time, so


soon in the autumn session. Not something I expected to see happen,


so that is a great achievement. As we come lovable baroness Lady Thomas


of Winchester say, we produced a really good read, and that is a good


epitaph on the committee report. -- noble Baroness. It was unanimous,


hard-hitting and full of recommendations that if they were


all entered upon would make a huge difference to the well-being and


life experiences of disabled people across a very wide range of


activities. And it was, therefore, a pity that the Government's response


was really so feeble and unambitious. When it came out on the


7th of July, which was one month and 13 days later than the Cabinet


Office's guidance for responses to select committee report, the lady


was quoted as saying she was dismayed to put it mildly. It was a


really unfeeling response, not helpful to make life more productive


for disabled people. I think are totally with that, my Lords, and I


support the cause made in that debate for the response from the


Government to be withdrawn and rewritten. I am much it is a new


Government but a new sort of administration. -- I'm not sure it


is a new Government but a new sort of administration. Other members


have spoke of new areas of this report and Government response where


they have their own areas of expertise. I shall concentrate


briefly and recommendations 21 and 22, relating to disabled access to


sports grounds, which are covered in paragraphs 245 - 249 of the report.


I remind the House of my interest as a vice president of the charity


Level Playing Field. Lord Northbrook, Lord Harrison and


Baroness Brinton all referred to the Accessible Sports Grounds Bill which


I took through this house in 2015. With the exception of the then


minister, not the minister replying tonight, who was approaching that


debate and can best be described as lukewarm, every member who spoke in


the second reading debate on the 17th of July, were strongly


supportive. Particularly in respect of the principle that each stadium


should follow accessible stadium guidelines, and improve the


experience for disabled people attending their matches. Now, whilst


it was evident the bill would not make progress in the other place


with our Government's support, it did produce one positive consequence


and that was the response from the English Premier League on the 10th


of September 2000 and 15. This stated, and I quote, all Premier


League clubs have agreed to make their stadiums compliant with the


accessible stadium guide by August 20 17. Clubs also agreed to ensure


the appropriate number of wheelchair bays are located in the correct


sections. If this commitment were fulfilled to the letter, it would


represent a huge step forward by the best supported and most affluent


clubs in British football. Particularly if the lead given by


the Premier League will follow by the other football leagues in


England, Wales and Scotland, and those sports with significant


numbers of fans attending their matches. In its report, our select


committee quoted approvingly the comment of Justin Tomlinson MP, who


was then Minister for disabled people. He is sadly no longer in


that post. He told me that most football clubs in this country are


behind when it comes to disability access to their grounds the Mac. It


is my belief that football should be enjoyed by everyone and someone with


a disability should have as much opportunity to watch the game as


someone without a disability. The following paragraph of our report


says this, and provision of disabled people, Justin Tomlinson similarly


confirmed that frankly some of it is disgraceful. There is no provision


in some grounds. Supporters are split up or put in with the away


fans. I find that totally unacceptable. We are in the last


chance saloon with those of football bodies saying, you need to get your


house in order. Had my members bill become law, clubs which failed to


comply with the accessible stadium guidelines could have lost their


safety certificates and their stadiums prevented from operating.


Without that sanction, disabled people would have two rely on the


goodwill of the clubs themselves to deliver what they promised by summer


next year. I am afraid, my Lords, I am not holding my breath. I advise


that the long-awaited report from the Premier League regarding the


progress of its clubs with one year to go, it was sent to the Secretary


of State. I am told that it seems to say very little and contains no


detail about the real progress at each club. It appears that there


will be at least some Premier League clubs that will not meet the pledge


by August 2017 as agreed and previously promised. The range of


excuses put forward by clubs as to why they will not or frankly


unacceptable. Liverpool football club, for example, seems far more


interested in providing general hospitality places than installing


sufficient disabled fans seats in order to comply with football's own


minimum standards. No cc for disabled people would ensure that


the club meets its pledges, but instead it's disabled fans are


expected to wait for phase two of its stadium expansion whenever that


may be. Watford seems to be removing disabled fans seats at a time when


they should be seeing an increase. Crystal Palace believes it only


needs to come up with a plan by 2017 rather than comply with the


amendment. It further transpires that the newly promoted clubs will


be given a one-year extension to meet the premiership pledge, as they


had not been part of the original decision. It is thought that they


should be afforded the same two-year cycle. This misses the point


completely, my Lords. It is more than 20 years, as other noble lords


have said Mr Gray, since the introduction of part three of the


DDA, and it is lot that they are required to provide that


accommodation and disgrace they have not done so. -- it is the law. It is


clearly Premier League has no intention to appeal is essentially


clubs which do not meet their own pledge. -- no intention to sanction


the clubs. Quite recently, the noble lord Lord Ashton reply to a written


question for me in these words. Ministers expect all sports and all


clubs to his guns do not make the reasonable adjustments to


accommodate disabled spectators are set out in the equality act 2010 to


take action to fulfil this legal obligation. Given the vast financial


resources at the disposal of premiership clubs, which noble lords


have referred to, the time has surely come for this action to be


taken now and taking any more drastic way. It is so disappointing


that, in response to the select committee's recommendation 21, that


the Government should include provisions similar to those of the


Accessible Sports Grounds Bill in a Government bill, but they have said


they have no plans to introduce one as existing legislation in the form


of the Equality Act remains "Untested" on access to sports


stadiums for disabled people. That is a truly bizarre excuse my Lords


and publicly ignores what the select committee said in paragraph 240


seven. The equality act 2010 has not succeeded in getting disabled sports


fans the access to stadiums to which they are entitled and new measures


are needed. A particular problem is the wall's requirement that only


individuals may take actions against institutions which are filling in


their duty to comply with the act. The nature of the relationship


between a football fan and his or her own club is often deep rooted


and passionate and makes it hard but I would say it makes it impossible


for the fan to initiate proceedings. This my Lords is why we recommend


recommendation 42 that the Government should consider changing


the law to allow charities and other bodies which do not have a legal


interest to bring proceedings in the interest of classes of disabled


people who are not themselves claimants. I hope that when the


minister replies, she is able to give a convincing reason for not


allowing charities to bring class actions. I would also ask her to


give a response to the Premier League's report on progress towards


meeting their August 2017 accessibility commitment. Also, an


indication of what they plan to do if the clubs let the disabled


supporters down. My Lords, as somebody who did not


serve on the committee, I think this whole experience with this debate


has been incredibly interesting, and the equality of the speeches takes


away some of my irritation at not having been able to get onto that


committee. However, my Lords, even a committee of this type, doing this


much work, could not cover everything to do with the field of


disability. I say that as the first declaration of interest that I am


dyslexic. And the president of the British dyslexia Association, and


there is more than one BDA involved in this. The British deaf


Association is as well. My Lords, if we don't do this, a series of themes


come out. The big thing is that you have got the law, so implement it.


Drive it forward. I, my Lords, and one of the veterans of the DDA. At


the time, it was before we celebrate it too much, just remember the pain


of the birth. Baroness Campbell was outside the building and I was in it


at the time. Shall we say, the birth of that bill was a painful and


prolonged labour? It was dragged out of a Government that did not want


it, largely by the action of its own backbenchers...


Download Subtitles