HC Deb 30 January 1995 vol 253 c672
9. Mr. Hanson

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what steps he is taking to improve access by disabled people to cinemas.

Mr. Sproat

The Government's Disability Discrimination Bill was introduced to Parliament on 12 January 1995. It seeks to introduce a right of access for disabled people to goods, facilities and services, including cinemas.

Mr. Hanson

Is the Minister aware that, in a recent survey of 96 cinemas in London, only 22 were found to be accessible to disabled people, and that many disabled people now face the humiliation of being told that they are fire risks? Many of my hon. Friends share the view that the Disability Discrimination Bill does not go far enough. If the hon. Gentleman agrees with that assessment, what plans does he have to influence his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to ensure that the Bill allows disabled people to enter London cinemas in the near future?

Mr. Sproat

I was not aware of the exact statistics, but the hon. Gentleman is correct to say that the majority of cinemas do not have the facilities that we would like. In fact, only 25 per cent. of all cinemas around the country do, but a survey of facilities for disabled people is currently being updated by the Cinema Exhibitors Association and when we have the results, which we hope will be shortly, we hope that they can be fed in to consideration of the Bill.