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DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT MILESTONE FOR SOCIETY - MINISTER

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The Disability Discrimination Act is not only a milestone for disabled people, but more importantly for society. ...
The Disability Discrimination Act is not only a milestone for disabled people, but more importantly for society.

Alistair Burt, minister for disabled people, described the act as a path to more enlightened attitudes towards disabled people.

Speaking at a RADAR conference in London, Mr Burt said: 'In some way the act will touch the life of each and every one of us - in the workplace, the high street, the sports centre, the pub, our schools, colleges, universities, our buses, trains and taxis.'

He highlighted the three central themes to the legislation:

-- greater independence for disabled people in all aspects of their lives

-- striking a balance between the aspirations of disabled people and the responsibilities of the rest of society involving all parties - disabled people, Government and business - in preparing detailed regulations and codes of practice

Mr Burt outlined how these aims were integral to the functions of the National Disability Council(NDC):

'The task assigned to the NDC is to find a practical way of ensuring that disabled people get rights intended under the Act while dealing with the informed and uninformed fears of business.

'The government is committed to involving the council in the early stages of policy development on how to implement the measures in the DDA. It will be an influential voice in shaping future policy.

'Amongst the many formidable tasks ahead of it, the NDC has started to prepare a code of practice to provide advice to service providers and disabled people on the initial rights of access which we intended to bring into effect later this year.

'This code of practice will be crucial to the success of the sct - as indeed will the employment code and the guidance on the definition of 'disability'.'

Mr Burt added that the NDC has another very important role in building bridges between the disability world and the business community, to develop the improved changes of attitudes towards disabled people that are at the centre of new legislation.

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