Employers argue for strong disability law
Sunday 03 September 1995
During its lengthy passage through Parliament, the Bill has fallen victim to various attempts to characterise it as another piece of Brussels-style regulation with Draconian requirements that hard-pressed businesses will find diffcult to meet. But the members of the Employers' Forum on Disability believe the proposed legislation should go further, not be watered down.
While it would perhaps be naive to suggest that their motivations are necessarily the same as those of the interest groups that have made well- publicised attacks on the Bill at various stages, they do share concerns about the effectiveness of the planned law.
In particular, they believe that the proposal to establish a National Disability Council to run alongside the existing National Advisory Council on the Employment of People with Disabilities will weaken rather than strengthen the position of the disabled.
They say that not only would this idea split responsibility for Britain's 6.2 million disabled people, it also suffers from the fact that - under the Bill - the advisory council does not have the same remit to help the public as the analogous Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality. Moreover, the NDC's proposed budget is only about pounds 250,000, compared with pounds 6m for the EOP and pounds 15m for the CRE.
Cynics might feel that this would favour employers. But the forum argues that it is not as simple as that. Without clearly defined legislation, say the employers, confusion will reign and unnecessary litigation will surely follow. Moreover, lawyers point out that since disability is much more open to interpretation than race or gender, there is room for greater contention even without confusion in the legislation.
The Employers' Forum on Disability is concerned about these issues because in recent years its members have made great strides in helping people with a variety of disabilities find work in their organisations. Working in association with the Prince of Wales' Advisory Group on Disability and in close partnership with Business in the Community, it is a non-profit company funded by members that aims to improve the job prospects of disabled people by making it easier for companies to recruit, retain and develop disabled employees.
Among its initiatives are the publication of such booklets as Welcoming Disabled Customers and Working with Disabled Constituents: A Guide for MPs. In 1992, it drew up an Employers' Agenda on Disability, which spells out what needs to be done if equal opportunities policies are really to include Britain's 2.4 million disabled of working age. So far 50 organisations employing more than 650,000 people have signed up for the agenda and its 10 points for action. Employers as varied as the Bank of England and Birmingham City Council are involved in such programmes as disability awareness training and installing braille printers.
For others, though, the effects of the Bill - which is expected to receive the Royal Assent in November - promise to be somewhat further-reaching.
Bus companies, for instance, would be required to make their all their vehicles accessible to wheelchair users, and much attention has been paid to the scale of this undertaking for London Transport.
- 1 National Orgasm Day: Six reasons (plus one bogus one) why they're good for us
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
- 4 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 5 Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston says why he left the BBC series after just one series
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dies: Wrestling legend dies aged 61, according to reports
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about custom...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Main purpose: Under the directi...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City...
£35 - £50k DOE: Guru Careers: A Tax Manager / Accountant (ACA / CA / CTA) is n...