Minister urges common sense approach to DDA

04 August 2004
Minister urges common sense approach to DDA

Maria Eagle, minister for disabled people, has urged hospitality companies to apply "common sense" when preparing for October's Disability Discrimination Act deadline.

The autumn watershed will mean all UK hospitality companies will need to comply with the 1995 act and take "reasonable" steps to remove, alter or avoid features that make it difficult for disabled people to access services.

Speaking at a press briefing in Whitehall, the minister reiterated that reasonable meant common-sense, and degrees of compliance would vary depending on the size of the business.

"Put your thinking cap on before you get your chequebook out," said Eagle. "If you're a small pub, you won't be expected to do as much as an international hotel chain. But the important thing is making the changes you can and demonstrating that you've thought about access."

The minister said the final legislation was not about burdening operators with further bureaucracy but giving 10 million disabled people in the UK access to things most take for granted.

"It's a huge opportunity for hospitality providers, as the 10 million people that meet DDA criteria have an estimated £50m to spend," said Eagle. "That's a lot of business to turn away."

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Caterer is holding a DDA breakfast briefing on 15 September. Guest speakers will include representatives from the Disability Rights Commission, hotel group City Inn and IndividuAll. There will also be a panel discussion chaired by Caterer group editor Forbes Mutch. Places cost £75; e-mail or call 020 8652 3485 to book.

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