I am today (13 January 2011) publishing a consultation document which sets out the government’s proposals for implementing Part 3 of the Equality Act 2010 in respect of ships and hovercraft.
Part 3 of the Equality Act 2010 deals with discrimination, victimisation and harassment in the provision of services and the exercise of public functions. Bringing clarity and uniformity to anti-discrimination legislation as it applies to transporting people by ship or hovercraft and a service provided on such vessels is necessary as the scope and the territorial application of such legislation is far from clear. People receiving services onboard ships and hovercraft should, as far as it is reasonable to do so, have the same protection as they would on land.
Nevertheless, discrimination onboard ships and hovercraft is not reported as being a significant problem. So the intended policy approach is to maintain, as far as it is reasonable to do so, the protection which already exists against both direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation but to make the scope and extent of the legislation much simpler and clearer. Anti-discrimination legislation, in respect of the protected characteristic of disability, will however be strengthened in relation to ships and hovercraft when the EU Regulation on the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway comes into force in the UK.
This consultation will assist government in determining how Part 3 is to apply to ships and hovercraft in relation to the actual service of transporting people and the provision of services onboard such vessels as well as those matters relating to performance of a public function in so far as it relates to disability discrimination.
The government seek interested parties’ views on the proposals. The consultation document and the impact assessment are available on the department’s website. Copies of these documents have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.