Tag Archive | "equalities"

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Guide Dogs Mass Lobby leads to MPs call for new equalities legislation

Toby Perkins MP supported a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.

On Wednesday, 19 June, more than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country converged on Westminster Hall in Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. At the event, the MP for Chesterfield spoke to guide dog owners about the lasting impact of these refusals.

It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs survey found that three out of four (76%) assistance dog owners had been turned away because of their dog.

Taxis and minicabs were the worst offenders – experienced by 73% of those reporting refusals in the last twelve months. Refusals at restaurants (54%), newsagents (42%) and high street shops (36%) were also common.

Guide Dogs are calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to be required to take disability equality training so they are aware of the rights of disabled passengers. Guide Dogs also supports changes to equality legislation to make action against businesses who refuse access easier.

Toby supported pavement parking legislation previously. He worked with Chesterfield Borough Council to ensure all taxi drivers and restaurant owners were aware of legal responsibilities to allow guide dog users to access their services.

Toby said:

“It was great to hear directly from Derbyshire residents who have come down to parliament for an issue which I know so crucially affects their standard of life.

We all feel passionately that people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their disability and it’s important that we educate café owners, taxi drivers, restaurant owners about their legal responsibilities – but also why they should welcome that obligation and encourage people to come in and use their facilities and services.”

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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