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1995 Disability Discrimination Act

For centuries, Deaf and disabled people were provided for by the state, often in workhouses or asylums and, later on, in ‘special' education. In the 20th century, unions and campaign groups formed by Deaf and disabled people began to fight for their rights, including better access to services and to end employment discrimination. In 1970, the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act legislated for equal access to recreation and education facilities, and stipulated that local authorities had to provide care for people in their own homes, but it did not cover discrimination.

It took many failed Bills and a long campaign inside and outside parliament before the Disability Discrimination Act was passed in 1995. Although criticised as inadequate, it went further than other discrimination laws, as employers and service providers had to make appropriate adjustments for Deaf and disabled people. Strengthened in 2005, it was replaced in 2010 by the Equality Act.