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Friday, June 17, 2005

Access for heavyweights

In questions to the Business Minister on her responsibilities for equality issues on Wednesday, Tory AM David Melding underlined the agony of political failure, whilst at the same time making a very serious point about access to polling stations. Accessibility is not just about ramps and wider doors. Voters have to be able to open the doors in the first place:

David Melding: Minister, in a vain attempt to defeat your friend John Smith and replace him with my colleague, Alun Cairns, I did a bit of telling in the Vale of Glamorgan. One polling station that I attended had a formidable set of double doors, which anyone under welterweight would have had difficulty negotiating. Is this not part of the problem? In this case, you could get up the ramp, but you could not open the door.

Jane Hutt: Absolutely. I undertook my Scope Cymru survey at my local polling station, which, I am sure, was not far from yours, David, knowing where we both live in Barry. I was able to see some improvements, but not all were within the clear guidelines. Referring to my answer to Mike German, we must now ensure that, under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the public duty includes access to polling stations, and that the Electoral Commission’s recommendations are implemented.
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