Guide Dogs

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to improve the enforcement of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to access to businesses and services for people with guide dogs.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

It is unacceptable that users of assistance dogs experience unlawful discrimination in the provision of goods, services or public functions. The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on organisations and service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises and services so that disabled customers, including those with assistance dogs, have the same access to goods and services and are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled customers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the public body responsible for enforcing the Equality Act. In 2017, the EHRC published two pieces of guidance - a guide to help businesses understand what they can do to meet their legal duties to assistance dog owners, and a guide to help tourism businesses welcome people with access requirements. The EHRC supports disabled individuals who have experienced discrimination to take their cases to court. The Government’s tailored review of the EHRC, published in November 2018, has recommended that EHRC should focus on the use of its unique powers as enforcer and regulator of the Equality Act.

The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) provides free bespoke advice and in-depth support to individuals by telephone (0808 800 0082), textphone (0808 800 0084) or via the EASS website.

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