I met with my constituent, Michael Crow, to talk about the Guide Dogs campaign Access All Areas. This seeks a legal change so people can take guide dogs into buildings like shops and cafes. Following our meeting I wrote to the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Almost half of guide dog owners surveyed by RNIB have experienced an access refusal in the last year with the most frequent examples being taxis, cafes and shops. It is essential that legal rights under the Equality Act 2010 are upheld as refusal can lead to embarrassment and social isolation for the visually impaired. The government must take action on this.
Secondly Michael raised with me the issue of problem pavement parking which affects 90% of people with visually impairment. As promised I met with Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP last night to raise Michael's concerns. Worryingly a YouGov survey showed over half of motorists had considered the problems pavement parking would cause to pedestrians, but had chosen to do so regardless. It is therefore clear that legislative change needs to happen. A clear standardised law across the country would give local authorities real power to tackle pavement parking, in line with Greater London and I pressed the Minister to take vital action to tackle this issue.