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Access to Information (People with Disabilities)

Women and Equality – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 18th March 2010.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth 10:30 am, 18th March 2010

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on equality of access to information for blind, partially sighted and print-disabled people.

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Photo of Michael Jabez Foster Michael Jabez Foster Parliamentary Secretary, Government Equalities Office

We have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions, which sponsors the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, which requires employers, service providers and bodies delivering functions to make reasonable adjustments. That duty is a cornerstone of the protection for disabled people and has been carried forward into the Equality Bill, which was amended on Report in the other place to make more explicit the application of that duty in respect of disabled people who experience information disadvantage.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth

I welcome that amendment, and the commitment of Ministers. Will my hon. Friend ensure that this matter is understood and driven ahead at every level, and in every Department and Government agency, as a matter of urgency?

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Photo of Michael Jabez Foster Michael Jabez Foster Parliamentary Secretary, Government Equalities Office

Indeed. My right hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Women and Equality is already on the job. The Government Equalities Office is also ensuring that other Departments are fully aware of the provisions in the Bill, and advice will be updated as those provisions come into force. I believe that there is also a role for Members of the House to be vigilant in ensuring that within their own localities the equality message is clear and understood. I know that my right hon. and learned Friend will be at the forefront in achieving that.

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