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Legal Advice

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Maria Eagle): My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Bach, has made the following written ministerial statement:

11 Jun 2009 : Column 50WS

Government Equalities

Equality Bill: A Consultation

The Minister of State, Government Equalities Office (Maria Eagle): The Equality Bill, currently before Parliament, will introduce a new single Equality Duty which will bring together the three existing race, disability and gender equality duties and extend to cover age, sexual orientation, religion or belief and gender reassignment in full. The Equality Duty will be supported by a number of specific duties, to be set out in secondary legislation, which will help public authorities in the better performance of the duty.

In June 2008, Government said we would consult on our policy proposals for specific duties. The document we are publishing today sets out our proposals and asks for comments. The consultation period will run until September 2009.

I am placing copies of this document in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies will also be available on the Government Equalities Office website at: www.equalities.

Work and Pensions

Right to Control (Disabled People)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jonathan Shaw): In 2005, the Government made public their commitment to work towards equality for disabled people by 2025. Since then we have come a long way but, as many disabled people know, we still have a long way to go. Part of this ongoing commitment is our plan to legislate for a Right to Control for disabled people. Disabled people have told us that many of them do not have the choice or control over their lives that non-disabled people take for granted. This lack of choice and control is a key barrier to participating and contributing as equal citizens. Powers contained in the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, recognise that disabled people are the experts in their own lives. We have worked closely with disabled people and their organisations to develop this right, including with our Advisory Group, chaired by Baroness Jane Campbell.

Today, with the publication of the consultation paper “Making choice and control a reality for disabled people: Consultation on the Right to Control”, we are launching our consultation on the Right to Control. This paper has been co-produced with input from disabled people, independent living experts and other stakeholders. The consultation exercise will ensure that the trailblazers are designed to reflect the challenges of local implementation, while delivering real choice and control for disabled people.

The consultation will end on Wednesday, 30 September 2009.

The consultation documents are available on the Office for Disability Issues website at: Copies of the document will be placed in the House Library.

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