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Minister for equal opportunities, Alan Howarth, has announced the timetable for the full implementation of Part III...
Minister for equal opportunities, Alan Howarth, has announced the timetable for the full implementation of Part III of the

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), giving disabled people further

rights of access to goods and services.

Mr Howarth said:

'This is excellent news for disabled people which will have a

widespread impact on their lives. This decision is further

implementation of our manifesto commitment to establish comprehensive

and enforceable civil rights for disabled people. We are moving

decisively to ensure that it will no longer be the case that so many

of our disabled citizens are excluded from the everyday activities

that others take for granted.

'From October next year disabled people should see improvements as

business and the public sector adjust procedures and policies to make

their services accessible. For example, restaurants will not be

allowed to refuse entry to guide dogs and companies will not be

allowed to produce promotional literature in print too small for

visually impaired people to read. Service providers will, where it is

reasonable for them to do so, also have to provide sign language

interpreters for deaf people or induction loops for people who use

hearing aids. Businesses based in inaccessible premises will have to

take reasonable steps to provide their service by alternative means;

this could mean for example, home visits by hairdressers or

chiropodists to people who use wheelchairs.

'We are implementing the legislation in two stages to allow

service providers from the local shop to town halls time to make

physical alterations. They will have until 2004 to prepare but when

the DDA is fully brought into force, service providers who have not

prepared themselves and removed physical obstacles to disabled

people, where such changes would be reasonable, could be in breach of

the law.

I would urge service providers not to wait but to act now in

anticipation of their new duties. They will not be required to do

anything unreasonable. Not only will their disabled customers and

service users benefit but making their services more accessible will

make them more attractive to many others. Acting quickly could

provide a considerable commercial advantage.

'In reaching our decision on the timetable for implementation, we

have taken full account of advice from the National Disability

Council (NDC), from organisations of and for disabled people and from


'I have today written to the NDC asking them to review the Code of

Practice in order to take account of the new duties on service

providers. I anticipate that public consultation on the Council's

revised Code of practice and the government's proposals for a limited

number of regulations under the Act will begin no later than the

beginning of August 1998 and last for three months.'

The provisions of the Act are to be implemented in two stages: From

October 1999, service providers will have to take reasonable steps to

change practices, policies or procedures which make it impossible or

unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use a service; provide

auxiliary aids or services which would enable disabled people to use

a service and overcome physical barriers by providing a service by a

reasonable alternative method. From 2004, service providers will

have to take reasonable steps to remove, alter, or provide reasonable

means of avoiding physical features that make it impossible or

unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use a service.


1. The first rights under Part III of the DDA came into force on 2

December 1996 and placed duties on those providing goods, facilities

and services not to discrimainate against disabled people. The

duties are: not to refuse service, not to provide a worse service

standard of service and not to offer service on worse terms.

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