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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian shows his support for Guide Dogs campaign in Parliament

June 27, 2019

Last week, Julian attended an event in Parliament in support of a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners, organised by the charity Guide Dogs.

More than a hundred guide dog owners from across the UK came together in Westminster Hall in Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law to deny access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs survey found that 76% of dog owners had been turned away because of their dog. It is up to the assistance dog owner to enforce the law by taking action in the courts. However, fewer than 16% of assistance dog owners pursued legal action, with many reporting it as too difficult, costly or time consuming.

After the event Julian said:

“It was a pleasure to meet with my constituent Graham Longly who came down to Parliament from his home in Haxby. He told me how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners. It is of utmost importance that no one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog. I hope that in York, we can continue to support inclusivity in all public places in our city.”

Chris Theobald, Public Affairs Manager at Guide Dogs, said:

“The law is very clear that assistance dog owners have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local restaurant.

“Despite this, our survey shows assistance dog owners face refusals on a regular basis. When you rely on their guide dog to get around, businesses that refuse to allow your dog in are effectively slamming the door in your face.

“Businesses have a responsibility to make sure all their staff welcome assistance dog owners. That’s why we are calling for disability equality training as standard in sectors where refusals are common. We also support an overhaul of equality legislation so that businesses that refuse access face the full consequences of the law.”

 

Pictured: Julian, accompanied by Janet with 12-month-old puppy Dave