HC Deb 05 April 1995 vol 257 c1176W
Mr. Barnes

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will outline the measures taken, facilities offered and adjustments made in his Department and agencies for which he is responsible to facilitate access for disabled people; what plans he has to improve access; and if he will make a statement. [18594]

Mr. Dorrell

My Department wishes to promote access for all people, including disabled people, to the whole range of the activities for which it is responsible. The Department has an equal opportunities policy which covers all staff including disabled people, and its buildings are accessible to wheelchair users and people with other disabilities.

My Department's agencies have both taken positive action to help disabled people. The Historic Royal Palaces Agency has provided wheelchair access to the crown jewels, and additional lifts to all floors in Hampton court palace, where a wheelchair loan service is also available. The Royal Parks Agency is implementing long and short-term projects for improving access to its parks. These include the wheelchair loan service in Greenwich park and the special needs centre in Richmond park.

The Department and its agencies will continue to build on this kind of approach.

The Disability Discrimination Bill, which will apply to all Government Departments, contains new rights for disabled people in employment and creates rights of access to goods, facilities and services. It also establishes the National Disability Council to advise the Government on eliminating discrimination against disabled people.