Third time lucky on disabled rights?

By Jonathan Bartley
July 6, 2009

Lord Ashley of Stoke has a question in the House of Lords tomorrow (Tuesday) and is calling on government to legislate for the independent living of disabled people.

According to the briefing on epolitix, his bill is designed to extend the rights of disabled people and impose duties on authorities. It is comprehensive, tackling the thorny issues of self-assessment of their rights, the imposition of duties on local authorities, individualised budgets, minimum outcomes, and housing. It is designed to ensure that authorities have no doubt about the responsibilities they bear when the Bill is passed.

Lord Ashley of Stoke But in a classic example of how the system works against, rather than in favour of private members, the bill has been knocked back twice.

It was passed by the House of Lords three years ago it met with virtually no opposition. But when it went from the Lords to the Commons, it didn't gain enough time to be debated and so was lost.

Last year it was reintroduced into the House of Lords again. And yet again when it went to the House of Commons it wasn't given the necessary time to be debated.

As Lord Ashley said: "One must have doubts about the government’s attitude insofar as ministers spoke favourably about it but then left it marooned on the iceberg of lack of Parliamentary time.

"Now, for the third time it has passed its third reading in the House of Lords and awaits the pleasure of the Commons. There can be no doubt that unless the government changes its mind, the Bill will be stranded yet again."

This could potentially be an historic development for disabled people, and it would be scandalous if the Government washed its hands yet again, and allowed ongoing discrimination which this bill could potentially end.

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