Frank Field MP
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Decency calls for help for guide dog owners


I was really pleased last week to meet with a guide dog owner who had travelled down to Parliament from Birkenhead.

Over 100 guide dog owners from across the country came to Westminster to talk to their MPs about the discrimination they face each day as they go about their lives.

On the back of my conversation with our Birkenhead resident, I am supporting the charity Guide Dogs’ “Access All Areas” campaign to ensure guide dog owners can carry out everyday activities, such as taking a taxi and using their local shops, without the risk of being turned away or being intimidated.

Decency calls for guide dog owners to have the same access to shops, restaurants and taxis as everyone else. Yet, all too often, they are told that their dog is not welcome and not allowed in. In fact, three out of every four guide dog owners has been turned away from a taxi, business or service because of their dog.

Despite the law being clear on this issue, guide dog owners are still experiencing this form of discrimination every day and this needs to change. The campaign therefore calls for disability equality training, and for offenders to be properly punished under the law when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.

There is a further problem specifically in our town. Some guide dog owners, as well as the dogs themselves, are being harassed and intimidated by yobs in and around Birkenhead Park. I’ve written to the police asking them to ensure their patrols are alert to this problem. Nobody should have to feel too afraid to use the park.

Might I conclude with a short notice about this Friday’s surgery? It will take place in Birkenhead Town Hall from 6pm, rather than the usual time of 5pm. Everybody who turns up will of course be seen, but, in the meantime, please do call my office on 0207 219 5193 if I can be of any help.

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