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“Stop discrimination against disabled people” says Gavin Newlands MP

Gavin Newlands MP visited a Guide Dogs event in the UK Parliament on 16th November to show his support for taxi and minicab drivers receiving disability equality training when getting their licence.

At the event, guide dog owners told the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North how taxi and minicab drivers refused to carry them because they had their guide dog with them. They explained that they had missed important appointments due to the refusals and how it had left them anxious and reluctant to use taxis and minicabs again.

Although the Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to carry an assistance dog, Guide Dogs research found that 42% of people living with sight loss were turned away by a taxi or minicab in the last year because of their guide dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have illegally been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.

Guide Dogs is calling for disability equality training to be made a requirement for all taxi and minicab drivers to help them understand the rights and needs of disabled people and how to welcome assistance dog owners.

Gavin Newlands MP said:

“I was delighted to meet with Guide Dogs UK and show my support for disability equality training. It is inexplicable that so many disabled people still face discrimination when trying to go about their daily lives.

I’m very disappointed that we didn’t see a vote on the Disability Equality Training Bill last week. The Bill would have applied only to England and Wales, but Scottish Government closely monitor events and changes in other regions of the United Kingdom to ensure best practise is achieved in supporting disabled people in Scotland.

“The SNP Government in Scotland are committed to protecting the rights of disabled people to live with dignity and respect as independently as possible. I will continue to raise awareness of the responsibilities of taxi and private hire drivers in ensuring that their vehicles are accessible to all.”

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented:

“Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver or asked to pay an extra fare, for no good reason. Despite legal protection, this regularly happens to people living with sight loss because they are travelling with a guide dog.

“This discrimination is not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and can stop them doing everyday things that most people take for granted.

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