Equality Bill

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John Howell: I wanted to follow on from my hon. Friend’s comments, as a member of the Work and Pensions Committee, to emphasise the seriousness with which we looked at the issue. He has already mentioned that we went back quite a long way, to 1999 and the Disability Rights Taskforce. Indeed, if we look at the restrictions that that taskforce sought to place on any overall ambition, we see that they mirror closely what is in the new clause today. From 1999 to the present is a long time to wait for what is quite a straightforward element.
My hon. Friend has already touched on the support of business, but he has not necessarily gone far enough. The evidence taken during the Select Committee was much wider than the examples he gave. For example, the Federation of Small Businesses came to us. We asked about the questionnaires and the response was:
“I think they should be got rid of”—
getting a clearer statement than that is difficult—
“My day job is helping disabled people get back to work, and we have put in applications from the same person with a tick saying they have not got a disability and they have got the interview, and then the same person has ticked it and they have not.”
That illustrates the point.
One of the other organisations that came to us as a witness was the CBI.
1.15 pm
The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put (Standing Order No. 88).
Adjourned till this day at Four o’clock.
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