Clause 176

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 2 July 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office 9:30, 2 July 2009

My answer to the hon. Gentleman is that I do not know whether the rationale will be put into communications following the granting of an exemption or the imposition of a condition, although it obviously should, for the reason that he mentioned. I am glad that such important practical points are being raised. Exemptions to such provisions that have been made under the DDA are usually time-limited, so it is usually about getting things in order in due course. I understand that conditions are often set on those provisions, and that would remain the case for exemptions granted under the Bill.

Committee members have made some practical points. Apparently, the extent of the availability of conditions to the Secretary of State would permit the kind of communication that the hon. Member for Forest of Dean mentioned. Such practical matters will be drawn to the attention of the appropriate Departments so that all the sensible points that have been mentioned are taken into account when exemptions are granted.

A limited range of events would cause exemption. For example, the Glasgow underground has different dimensions from other underground train services and it would be difficult for it to meet the precise regulations in relation to wheelchair accommodation, so it has an exemption for the time being, but such a provision is made available and used only in pretty exceptional situations like that, where bigger tunnels would have to be dug under the whole of Glasgow.