Clause 157

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:00 am ar 2 Gorffennaf 2009.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office 9:00, 2 Gorffennaf 2009

We decided last year to take a fresh look at how we can achieve our objective of enhancing accessible-taxi provision, and there was a consultation that closed on 24 April. We asked members of the public, groups and organisations whether the regulations were the right way to deal with the issue. We are still analysing all that. Many of the issues raised by hon. Gentlemen have absolute reality and I accept that completely. The possibility of people migrating to become private hire only is an issue that we must countenance. The possibility that there could be an area in which there were no accessible taxis because of the provision is something we need to look at.

There are protections within the four corners of clause 154, which deals with the issue properly, whereas clause 157 deals with exemptions. There has to be a consultation—the hon. Gentleman referred to the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. The Secretary of State has to be satisfied that any exemption is appropriate, and he or she can put terms upon it. However, I readily accept that there is a need for us to come back and say to the House what we will do about the issue.