Thank you for contacting me about the difficulties and discrimination faced by assistance dog users.
Guide dog and assistance owners have important rights under the Equality Act 2010. The Act provides for people with disabilities to have the same right to services as everyone else. I can assure you that the Act makes it unlawful for anyone to be discriminated against because of their disability, or because they have an assistance dog with them.
Businesses and service providers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’, which might mean giving extra help or making a change to the way a service is provided. In respect of taxis and private hire vehicles it is illegal for them to refuse the carriage of an assistance dog, unless they hold an exemption certificate.
As you may be aware, the Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability has been appointed to consider the way the Act impacts on disabled people. The Committee published a report in March 2016: you can read the report and the Government’s response here:
I am proud that the Government is committed to achieving real equality in the UK, and putting an end to discrimination. I lend my full support to this effort.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.