Government urges public sector to take lead on disability issues

The public sector must give serious thought – not just tick boxes – in meeting its new responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005, the Government said today.

The new law, due in December, will require all public bodies in the UK to lead by example and integrate disabled people in their policy-making from the outset as well as promoting ‘equality of opportunity’ for disabled people.

Speaking at a London conference today, Anne McGuire mnister for disabled people said the ‘bottom line’ for the public sector was to think about disabled people’s needs ahead of time and not as an afterthought.

”While there has been progress towards equality for disabled people, the pace of change has been slow. The challenges are still enormous. Wherever you look, you will find that disabled people are worse off,” she said.

”Everyone – from the very top to the shop floor – needs to ask difficult questions of themselves and our businesses. Why do disabled people get paid less than non-disabled people, and why are they more likely to have no qualifications? Why are people with learning difficulties more likely to die young from physical illnesses which have nothing to do with their impairment?”

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