Glad to meet once again with guide dog owners at an event in Westminster organised by the charity Guide Dogs.
Guide Dogs are key for many people with sight loss to get around independently, but research shows 91% of guide dogs owners have been turned away from shops, restaurants, and other businesses because of their dogs. I think that’s quite shocking.
While in most cases refusing a working guide or other assistance dog is likely to be unlawful, the reality is that it is extremely difficult for guide dog owners to take action when refusals happen.
Apart from refusals in taxi and Private Hire Vehicle settings, it is up to the guide dog owner to take on the burden of a civil case against the business or service that has refused them.
The Guide Dogs charity has my full support and I want to make it clear that nobody should be refused entry to a business because they have an assistance dog.
Access refusals prevent guide dog owners from living independently and can dissuade them from getting out and about. I am fully supportive of the Open Doors campaign which seeks to strengthen the law to prevent access refusals.