Warwick and Leamington MP supports campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has supported a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 5:25 pm
Matt Western MP with Guide Dogs representative Janet and trainee puppy Dave

On June 19 more than 100 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, Mr Western 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.

Matt Western MP with Guide Dogs representative Janet and trainee puppy Dave

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 per cent 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.

Matt Western MP with guide dog owners outside Westminster Hall.

Mr Western said: “It was disturbing to hear how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners.

"No one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog.

“I support Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign to tackle the ignorance that causes access refusals, and make sure businesses are held accountable when they occur.”