Local MP Ian Austin joined volunteers and campaigners from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association this week to back their campaign to stop guide dog owners from being turned away by businesses.
The ‘Access All Areas’ campaign highlights the problem guide dog owners can have accessing businesses including included shops, supermarkets, gyms, campsites, places of worship, public transport, taxis and minicabs, pubs and hotels.
Guide Dogs say that the most frequent offenders are taxis and minicabs. Austin will be writing to the Department for Transport to ask that disability equality training for taxi and minicab drivers is made mandatory, like it is from staff on other forms of public transport like buses and trains.
Austin is a member of an All Party Parliamentary group to promote work on sight loss and has previously backed campaigns by the national charity Guide Dogs to improve blind people’s access to support and services.
Ian Austin said:
“I’ve always spoken up for blind and partially sighted constituents over the years, so I was keen to support this campaign.
“I think it is really shocking that guide dog owners are turned away from businesses, shops and transport. It stops people from doing the day to day activities they need to do to get on.
“I’ll keep working with the local Guide Dogs group, as well as local organisations like the Beacon Centre for the Blind, to improve accessibility and support for local blind people.”