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Policing and Crime Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 7th December 2016.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 6:15 pm, 7th December 2016

My Lords, Amendment 173, moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, adds to the general duties of licensing authorities a duty of securing accessibility for disabled persons. The noble Baroness raises an important issue; we debated the matter under another amendment, which sought to add in the provisions of the Equality Act in Committee.

It is right to say that people running licensed premises should do much more to ensure that the premises are accessible by disabled people, so that they can go out with their friends and family and enjoy themselves on those premises. It is right that disabled people are able to get access to those premises. When the Minister responds to the debate we may hear that there are general duties under the Equality Act 2010 in force already and that adding a specific amendment does not add anything to the statutory requirements already in force, as noble Lords have said. I hope that we can get a very careful explanation of why that is the case. The Government have a general duty to ensure that the law is properly applied, so I hope that they will use this opportunity to say clearly how they can ensure that that actually happens.

The problem often is whether licensed premises owners fully understand what their obligations are—or, if they do understand, whether they do anything to make those reasonable adjustments. We need to have a very careful explanation from the Minister in response to the debate, because we have the whole issue of the guidance, what review mechanisms are in place, and how the Government are going to ensure that the mainstream access to buildings to which the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, referred actually happens.