Today I met constituents, Mike and Sarah, who both have guide dogs and were attending the rally in Westminster Hall in support of the Access All Areas campaign.
Access All Areas was launched back in 2015 after the Guide Dog charity heard from countless guide dog owners about being refused access to public places because of their dog. This is almost always illegal. Under the Equality Act, guide dog and other assistance dog owners have the right to enter most services, premises and vehicles with their dog.
Their research shows that the most frequent places that guide dog owners are refused access to are minicabs, taxis, restaurants and shops. This is why Guide Dogs have been calling for the government to introduce Disability Equality Training for minicab and taxi drivers, to make them aware of the law and how better to support people with a visual impairment.
I heard of the problems Mike and Sarah have experienced themselves and pledged my support to their campaign and in taking up some local issues that were flagged with me about maintenance of crossings in Havering, where some buttons for blind people have been vandalised.