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In 1982, Jack Ashley MP was the first to try to get full civil rights legislation for disabled people. It is worth noting that he also wanted the legislation to create a Disability Rights Commission. His attempt was killed off by the government.

Between 1985 and 1995 a series of MPs made 14 attempts to get civil rights legislation for disabled people but the government killed off each attempt.

Eventually, the government gave in to pressure and passed the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. This is not full civil rights legislation and its definition of disabled person is based on the medical model of disability. Disabled people would still prefer to have full civil rights legislation.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 did not create a Disability Rights Commission and disabled people had to wait until 2001 to get a commission similar to those for sex and racial discrimination.

[info icon]Government Disability web site
[info icon]Disability Discrimination Act web site

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) aims to end the discrimination which many disabled people face. The Act gives disabled people rights in the areas of employment, access to goods, facilities and services, and buying or renting land or property.

The employment rights and first rights of access came into force on 2 December, 1996; further rights of access came into force on 1 October, 1999; and the final rights of access will come into force in October 2004.

In addition the act allows the Government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use public transport easily.

[info icon]The government's proposals for taxis under the DDA

Under the DDA, all new licensed taxis (but not private hire vehicles) will be required to be fully wheelchair accessible from January 2002. By 2012 all taxis are expected to have complied with the act.

The DDS Group thinks that this impacts on taxi drivers quite substantially because there is a cost involved in making taxis accessible. We also believe that government funding should be forthcoming to alleviate the financial hardship which taxi drivers may face as a result of having to comply with the act.

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