Two taxi-drivers have been convicted of refusing to carry a disabled passenger and their guide dog, following a prosecution by Ashford Borough Council.
The two refusals happened one after the other outside Ashford railway station in Kent on the evening of 21 March 2019.
Both drivers had denied the offences under the Equality Act 2010 but were convicted on Monday (24 February) after a trial at Folkestone magistrates court.
Both drivers had previously had their Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers licences revoked by the council, and they were both fined by the court and ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs.
Siobhan Meade, from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said: “Refusing to carry someone who is blind or visually impaired simply because they work with a guide dog strikes at the very independence we exist to provide.
“I know from personal experience that each refusal feels like an assault from which the mental scars remain.
“We welcome Ashford Borough Council’s actions in this matter and we will always support them with test-purchasing, advice and support.”
Level Playing Field has this week launched its 16th annual Weeks of Action campaign (pictured), which aims to highlight good access and inclusion at sports venues across England and Wales.
The user-led charity, which represents disabled sports fans, is partnering with football’s Premier League and English Football League (EFL) on this year’s campaign.
It will highlight work by clubs, venues and governing bodies, and offers an opportunity for them to organise events that show their commitment to access and inclusion.
This year’s Weeks of Action will run from Saturday 29 February to Sunday 15 March.
Level Playing Field’s chair, Tony Taylor, said: “Last year was our biggest campaign to date, with over 76 clubs from the Premier League and the EFL taking part.
“Our ambition is to exceed last year’s numbers and to continue to push the positive impact of attending live sport and highlight what good work is being done already.”
The government’s own benefits advice body has launched a consultation into how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) engages with disabled people.
The consultation is part of an inquiry by the social security advisory committee (SSAC) into how DWP involves disabled people – particularly those of working-age – in drawing up policies and procedures that affect them.
The committee said it was not looking for views about social security benefits, but about how disabled people think DWP listens to feedback or involves disabled people, and how this might be improved.
The deadline for responses is 23 March.
A local authority has been told by an ombudsman to review its policy on providing home to school transport for disabled young people.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman criticised East Sussex County Council after it refused to provide a family’s adult son with the full five days of travel to the college named in his education, health and care plan.
The ombudsman said the council’s policy on home to school transport did not accurately reflect its legal duty to provide free transport to those aged 19 or over, where that is necessary.
It has told the council to apologise to the family, pay them £300 compensation, and review all other similar cases involving young adults.
A UK-based disabled-led organisation has become one of four winners from across the world of a new competition – run by car giant Toyota and ISDI digital business school – to find business start-ups with inclusive mobility ideas.
SociAbility, run by wheelchair-user Matt Pierri, has designed an app that provides detailed accessibility information for local venues.
It is one of four businesses that will each receive more than £20,000 in cash, and benefit from business mentors and intensive training, after being named as winners of the first Toyota Startup Awards.
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