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My Lords, I know that the Minister is sympathetic, but I still find the arguments unpersuasive. The Licensing Act is already used to enforce other Acts, for example, about children. If there is a cost to business, or a cost that is going to be passed on, are we to say that we can never make improvements for disabled people because it might cost somebody something? That simply will not do. I believe the Minister is suggesting that any amendment that the Government may bring forward would not remove the burden from disabled people but require them to make representations, make phone calls and use the internet to fill in forms and so on—when we know very well that even if you are able, trying to deal with local authorities on this sort of thing can be a nightmare. I am simply saying that access for disabled people—and, as the noble Baroness said, for the elderly, which is all of us eventually if not already—should be mainstreamed.
All parties in this House, some more than others, claim to have as their raison d’être improving the life of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable. To refuse to do this when presented with a straightforward, effective amendment is incomprehensible to me and goes against what I believe this House stands for. The amendment would make adjustments anticipatory and remove the onus from disabled persons. I do not believe that any compromise that the Minister might offer, well-disposed though she is—I know that she spent a lot of time on this—would meet that bill. Given the mission of this House, I do not think that we should talk the talk; I think that we should walk the walk. On that note, I wish to test the opinion of the House.
Ayes 135, Noes 177.