Labour Councillors are supporting Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne’s Disability Equality Training Bill, legislation which would ensure all taxi and minicab drivers undertake disability equality training as part of their license and do not discriminate against disabled passengers.
Labour Chair of Licensing Councillor Chris Murphy said ‘Assistance dog owners should be able to play a full part in their communities and access the same services as other residents, but surveys show that a majority have been refused entry to businesses or taxis.
‘Taxis are essential to disabled people’s independence as many are unable to drive or use public transport, but the impact of facing discrimination and confrontation when trying to carry out everyday activities can be devastating.
‘The Transport Select Committee, Law Commission and House of Lords Equality Act Committee, as well as 30 national charities and organisations, have recommended mandatory disability training for taxi and minicab drivers and it is clearly time for action.’
Councillor Chris Murphy (Brinnington and Central) will propose and Councillor Yvonne Guariento (Reddish South) will second a motion at the meeting of Stockport Council on Thursday 27th October in support of the Disability Equality Training Bill.
It is not currently compulsory for every taxi and minicab drivers to undertake disability equality training as a condition of obtaining their licence.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I would like to thank the Labour Group for putting forward a motion in support of my Private Members Bill which aims to stop the discrimination which some disabled people face when trying to use taxis.
“A similar motion was passed unanimously and across party divides by Tameside Councillors last week. I am grateful for the support received from across Greater Manchester and look forward to the Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 18th November.”
Jennifer Keen, Public Affairs Manager at Guide Dogs, said “Discrimination against assistance dog owners is all too common, with 3 in 4 reporting being refused entry to a business.
“Taxis and minicabs are the worst offenders, so Guide Dogs were delighted when Andrew Gwynne MP proposed a new law that would ensure all taxi and minicab drivers receive disability equality training to help them understand the rights of disabled people.
“It’s great that Councillors in Stockport recognise the importance of taxis and minicabs to disabled people’s independence and have added their voice to the growing support for a new law. Now we just need the Government to get behind it to help stop discrimination.”