MP's 'access all areas' plea for guide dog owners
Date published: 07 January 2019
MP Debbie Abrahams met Laura with her guide dog Jimmy, who is a yellow Labrador retriever, at a special launch of Guide Dogs' Access All Areas campaign in Parliament
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams is raising awareness of a campaign, called Access All Areas, which highlights the discrimination many guide dog owners experience when they are turned away by businesses because of their dog.
A survey by charity Guide Dogs, who run the Access All Areas campaign, found that three quarters of guide dog owners reported that they had been refused entry by businesses.
Mrs Abrahams said: “It’s against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by a guide dog except in the most exceptional circumstances.
“I was shocked to hear about cases of guide dog owners being turned away by businesses.
"This isn’t just poor customer service; it’s discrimination and it’s unacceptable.
“Disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local pub which is why I support Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign, to open all doors to guide dog owners.”
Guide Dogs’ research showed that businesses that closed their doors to assistance dog owners included shops, supermarkets, gyms, campsites, places of worship, public transport, taxis and minicabs, pubs and hotels.
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “This is a daily concern for many guide dog owners going about their lives.
“When you rely on your guide dog to get around, leaving the dog outside is not an option.
"Businesses shouldn’t be allowed to make guide dog owners feel like second-class citizens.
“That’s why we’re calling for better enforcement of the law, and better staff training in some sectors to stop this discrimination from happening in the first place.”
For more information about the campaign go to: www.guidedogs.org.uk
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