Tag Archives: parliament

Guide Dogs Not Allowed IN

The following email (reproduced below) about the discrimination faced by guide dog owners is self explanatory. As a guide dog owner I am saddened and angered by the fact that 75 percent of guide dog owners report having been refused access to a taxi when accompanied by their guide dog. I am saddened but not surprised because the same thing has happened to me on several occasions (I.E. taxi drivers flouting the law by refusing to carry me when accompanied by my guide dog Trigger). If you live in the UK please do take the time to write to your Member of Parliament regarding this issue. The original email can be found by following this link http://emails-guidedogs.org.uk/LDK-3KHFD-E85B5CNX2A/cr.aspx. Please note, the links in the email reproduced below don’t work (for the working links please visit the original document linked to above).


Many thanks,




Email From Guide Dogs For The Blind Association


Dear Kevin


“My biggest problem with refusals comes from taxi drivers. I used to have a very tough two hour commute to work. The taxi part of the journey was the shortest

bit travel wise, but it always ended up being the bit that held me up the most because I was having to spend time facing drivers who wouldn’t take me with

my dog. It made an already stressful situation really stressful and upsetting…it’s good that my contract was flexi hours otherwise I’m sure I would have

been sacked for being late all the time – it happened so often.” Guide dog owner, Northamptonshire


Earlier this year we carried out a survey of over one thousand assistance dog owners. The results were shocking.

75% of guide dog owners

who responded had been refused access to a business or service at some stage because they were accompanied by their dog, and nearly half had within the

last year.

Take action to help us stop this from happening.


This is why we’ve launched an important new campaign called ‘Access All Areas’ which aims to ensure guide dog and other assistance dog owners are able to

gain access to businesses and services with their dog, as is their legal right.


A guide dog owner and guide dog about to get into a taxi


Amongst guide dog owners the most frequently encountered place to be refused access was taxis and private hire vehicles. You can help us tackle this problem


by taking our new online action.


Thank you for supporting this vital new campaign.


Best wishes,



Help For Disabled Students To Be Cut

As a registered blind person who is not able to read print I benefited, as a disabled student from the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) which enabled me to purchase a Kurzweil reading machine. The Kurzweil translated printed text into speech via scanning books, documents etc enabling me to access material which was only available in print. The Kurzweil was extremely important in allowing me to study independently and obtain my BA and, later an MA in political theory.

I was concerned to read in The Guardian that the government intends to cut the amount of money available through the DSA due to it’s potential impact on people with disabilities. The support provided via the DSA is vital to many disabled students and the reduction of that assistance could cause disabled people to either not go on to further and/or higher education or (if they do go on) to suffer academically due to the lack of adequate support. I will be writing to my MP to raise my concerns. For the article please visit, http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/may/20/disabled-students-shut-out-government-cuts-allowance

Departs Stage Left

I was saddened to read in today’s Daily Telegraph of the death of Tony Benn, the veteran Labour politician at the age of 88. Whether one agreed with Benn’s politics or not he was a powerful speaker and I have memories of listening to his oratory on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? I also recollect sitting in the college library leafing through “Writings On The Wall” edited by Benn, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writings-Wall-Socialist-Anthology-1215-1984/dp/0571133355. A political giant has gone to that country from who’s bourne no traveller returns and politics will be the less vibrant for his departure.

Living with Blindness

I became blind due to a blood clot on my brain at the age of 18 months. I feel very lucky as the doctors predicted that I could suffer from severe mental impairments which is, fortunately not the case. I attended university and have a full time job which I enjoy doing. Above all I am grateful for the fact that I’m able to live independently.

Unfortunately many blind people receive little support from their local council on losing their sight. I was fortunate to learn how to use a white cane at school and (later) a guide dog. Many people who lose their vision wait a long time to receive mobility and other assistance to ajust to losing their sight from their local authority.

The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) has recently released a report drawing attention to the difficulties faced by many blind people, http://www.rnib.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/news/Pages/facing-blindness-launch.aspx. RNIB is calling on the government to ensure that the Care Bill which is currently going through Parliament reflects the needs of visually impaired people. If you live in the UK I would appreciate it if you would consider writing to your MP to ask that they ensure the needs of blind people are reflected in the legislation. You can find a template letter together with further information at the above link.

For anyone who is curious how I, as a blind person use a standard Windows PC, I have Jaws software which converts the contents of the screen into speech and braille allowing visually impaired people to use a standard computer. The software is sold by a US company called Freedom Scientific.