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Lord Holme of Cheltenham: My Lords, if the noble Baroness cares to study the early part of my remarks, she will find that I made that very point.

Baroness Denton of Wakefield: My Lords, I apologise if I missed it. The point is important and I am delighted to know that the noble Lord said that. It is important that we consider the needs of the majority in Northern Ireland and that the powers should exist but only be used in an emergency. There is every evidence that that has happened. We would not expect to bargain in any situation, we would look to react to the facts and the climate. We would not wish to act in a piecemeal fashion on any issues and I believe that that is the answer to the questions raised by the noble Lord about needs in specific areas. I shall look more closely at the issues raised and will write in detail if there is a need. I believe that we should consider the whole issue, examine the future for Northern Ireland and then bring forward the opportunities. The issue of electronic recording still has to be examined, but it requires legal action and then legislation. There is a timetable for it, which is why it is not easily possible now. I have concentrated tonight on explaining why we consider the Act still to be necessary and outlining our future intentions. As noble Lords have confirmed tonight, there is still a strong latent threat from terrorism and while that remains we shall retain the appropriate powers to deal with it. As has been the case over the years, those powers will continue to be exercised with sensitivity and with due regard to all the safeguards which are so necessary in a democratic society. We keep under consideration the possibility of suspending them and, at the appropriate time, there will be a wide ranging and totally independent review of the need for the Act and for the Prevention of Terrorism Act which is, of course, the responsibility of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. I hope that tonight has made it clear that our response to the cease-fires has not been in any way grudging or tardy. We have made many welcome and some quite

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major adjustments to our security profile. We all hope that continuing action in the area to the benefit of the normal way of life for the people of Northern Ireland is possible. But for the time being the emergency provisions Act must remain in existence as an insurance against the resumption of violence and as a deterrent against those who are still involved in paramilitary activity. We owe the people of Northern Ireland no less. I commend the order to the House.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, perhaps I may trespass on the time of the House for a second. As the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, said, there are widows waiting in darkened houses wanting to know their position. Will he be able to telephone them tonight to say that they will be compensated on the full basis of civil liability?

Baroness Denton of Wakefield: My Lords, as the noble Lord understands and as I hope I made clear, the story which distressed not only the widows but every person in Northern Ireland, that there would be a limit of £100,000 on their compensation, is not true. The issue of compensation is a matter now between the MoD and the widows and their representatives. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, can give comfort to the widows tonight. I commend the order. On Question, Motion agreed to.

Disability Discrimination Bill

8.45 p.m.

House again in Committee on Clause 12.

Lord Inglewood moved Amendment No. 60:

Page 9, line 11, leave out ("(subject to any regulations)").

The noble Lord said: I wish to move Amendment No. 60 and in doing so to speak to Amendment No. 68. Their purpose is to simplify and clarify the wording of parts of Clause 12.

Amendment No. 60 removes from Clause 12(3)—the list of examples of services covered by Part III—the words "subject to any regulations". The provision is superfluous and might be read as creating a power to make regulations affecting the examples. The Government have no intention of making such regulations and the amendment clears up any potential for confusion.

Amendment No. 68 seeks to make clear that there is a regulation-making power in subsection (5) which can be used to narrow the exemptions for education, transport vehicles and, should further exceptions prove necessary, other services. The amendments improve the wording of the Bill and I trust that the Committee will support them. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 61 not moved.]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 62:

Page 9, line 25, at end insert:
("( ) legal services, including the services of any court or tribunal and of agencies of the criminal justice system").

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The noble Baroness said: The amendment concerns legal services. I am in difficulty because the Committee will understand that there are major debates to come and we shall be sitting here until two o'clock. I therefore feel that we should not move some of the less important amendments so as to discuss the bigger ones more thoroughly.

[Amendment No. 62 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 63 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendments Nos. 63A to 64A not moved.]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham moved Amendment No. 65:

Page 9, leave out lines 26 to 28 and insert:
("( ) For the purposes of this Part, references to a service provider who discriminates against a disabled person shall include references to a service provider who—
(a) treats a person who has a physical or mental impairment that does not have a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities, as having a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities;
(b) treats a person who does not have a physical or mental impairment as having a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities."). The noble Baroness said: I should like to explore this amendment even at this late hour because it raises an issue on the first section of the Bill. It concerns perceived effects. In the Bill the Government have such a tough definition of disability in terms of substantial adverse long-term effects that many people will experience discrimination because of their partial disability or because of a perception of disability but they will not be protected in the field of goods and services. We argue that if a person had a major disability—for example, an impairment which had a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out daily activities—and because of it he would experience discrimination, he would be protected under the law. However, if a person had a minor disability which did not substantially affect his daily activity but the employer falsely believed it would, that person could experience discrimination and would not be protected under the Bill. Worst of all, if a person had no such disability but had a reputation for it—for example, a mental health problem or a perception about HIV—and experienced discrimination, that person would have no protection under the law. I suggest that if there is one thing worse than being discriminated against because a person has a severe disability, it is to be discriminated against when a person is thought to have a severe disability but does not. In Committee on Tuesday we discussed this problem largely in relationship to employment. Many Members of the Committee on all sides of this Chamber recognised that there was a problem, even if the amendment perhaps did not appropriately or entirely respond to it. The Minister argued on the one hand then that employers were entitled to exercise judgment or discretion. On the other, he argued that he could not in any case enter into the field of perception. That was his argument for asking the Committee not to take the amendment further.

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We did not accept then that the Minister's response was valid in the field of employment. We shall return to it. We believe that it is even less valid in relation to the provision of goods and services. In employment, at least the situation is competitive. A judgment has to be made as to which one out of four or 40 people may get a job. We recognise that an issue of judgment and discretion is more likely to come into play. However, with goods and services the question of competition seldom arises. People do not have to choose one person over another and exercise judgment which makes it difficult to challenge perception. Goods and services are for general consumption. We are talking about access to public buildings, accommodation, employment agencies, places of recreation and the like. There can surely be no justification for discriminating on grounds that judgment be exercised in this field. Whether someone has a substantial impairment, a minor impairment, or merely a false reputation for having an impairment, in none of those cases should discrimination be experienced in the field of goods and services. For those reasons, I beg to move this amendment.

Lord Addington: I support this amendment for the many reasons that the noble Baroness stated. If you are providing a service and you fail to serve a customer, you deny that person something absolutely. As the noble Baroness said, there is no chance of being able to come back on this matter on grounds of competence. It is usually a snap decision. Examples are: providing a hotel room, serving somebody from behind a shop counter or something of that type. If a person is denied, he or she has no recompense and their life can be destroyed. If we put the provisions of this amendment, or something very like it, on the face of the Bill, it would stop people being able to discriminate against a person carrying out the most mundane parts of their life. We are not talking of a job, where there is a structure that can be returned to. It is almost inconceivable to take legal action against everybody who refuses to serve you in a shop. If your local shop refuses to serve you and you take legal action against it, first, the shop may not be there at the end of it and certainly you may have to walk further to get your groceries. This is the type of nasty, petty discrimination that we are dealing with here. I certainly hope that the Government will be able to respond favourably to this amendment.

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