Emma supports lobby to protect guide dog owners from discrimination

June 2, 2016

Guide dogsEmma joined guide dog owners last week to lobby Parliament against the discrimination they face over access refusal to restaurants and taxis.

Owners of assistance dogs are entitled by law to access goods and services without discrimination. However, a UK wide survey of 1,118 assistance dog owners for Guide Dogs found that 74% of owners were refused access, nearly half of those in the last year showing the law is not working.

The worst offenders for refusing assistance dogs are restaurants, taxis and minicabs. Emma spoke with Guide dog owners at the event and it is clear that the legislation is not being adhered to, nor is it being shared with frontline staff.  Emma heard how one woman arrived at a restaurant with her entire family for a celebration and was refused entry because dogs were not permitted, another spoke of how they had been refused access to a taxi, both said they found the experience very upsetting.   

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person with a disability, and requires service providers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate people. The Act also makes it a criminal offence for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to carry an assistance dog.

Emma supports Guide Dogs recommendation for all drivers to be required to undertake disability equality training as part of their licence so they understood their obligations in law.

Emma said, 

“These figures show the laws on Guide Dog access are not being adhered to or enforced. It is hard to believe that people who are blind have to fight just to go to work or go about their daily business. How can anyone refuse access to a taxi to someone in such obvious need, when guide dogs are the most beautiful, well-trained and obedient animals? People who do this are breaking the law and as the law isn’t doing its job, its clear new measures need to be looked at to stop this happening.”

Emma has written to Dominic Raab, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice and Minister for Human Rights and will attach a copy of the Ministers response to this article once received


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