Quality of debate has been very poor – GDA

GUERNSEY Disability Alliance representatives have been disappointed by parts of the new anti-discrimination law debate, as the States works through a raft of amendments.

(Picture By Peter Frankland, 31314692)
(Picture By Peter Frankland, 31314692)

Some of the language used by States members during the debate so far was described as ‘dreadful’ by GDA partnership director Karen Blanchford.

‘The quality of debate has been very poor,’ she said.

She was surprised at the lack of understanding exhibited by some of those behind the amendments.

Bringing in the law as it stands, without excluding businesses with five or fewer employees – the subject of the most controversial amendment, which started to be debated last night – would remove barriers to many people entering the workplace and give more people access to goods and services, she said.

‘I understand businesses being nervous, but I don’t understand our politicians stifling it rather than finding out what businesses want and providing them with support.’

Mrs Blanchford was brought in to the GDA on a two-year contract some seven-and-a-half years ago, and after this debate is finished she will be stepping down from the charity, and Twitter, she announced yesterday.

Mrs Blanchford and the GDA’s social policy director Carol Le Page has been following the debate from the public gallery.

‘There are signs, with amendment two going through [to protect philosophical as well as religious beliefs] that people do want the over-arching ordinance going through for all business, not just for the 35%,’ she said, referring to the number of firms that would be covered by the law if amendment eight, to exclude those with five or fewer members of staff from some aspects of the law, succeeded.

But she felt that debate improved a little yesterday.

‘It started out a little bit prickly but seems to be flowing a bit better today. It’s quite encouraging the way some of the amendments have gone so far, but the crux will be with amendment eight, so it’s just a case of waiting to see what happens with it.’

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