Government failing to act on legislation for disabled people

Disabled people are being denied access to public transport to and from hospital 

The government is failing disabled people in terms of accessing work, transport and public buildings, such as hospitals.

The findings come in a report published today (Thursday, March 24) by the House of Lords. It finds that many of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 have not been put into action.

The act requires employers and transport and service providers, among others, to ‘take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take’ to avoid putting disabled people at ‘a substantial disadvantage’.

Failure to comply with this duty is a form of discrimination.

The report states: ‘It is worrying, therefore, that evidence of problems in obtaining this right have emanated from almost every part of society. We heard of problems in gaining reasonable adjustments from employers and education providers, on buses and trains, and in taxis, shops, restaurants and hospitals.’

The report found major variations in the attitude of different bus and coach companies to the needs of disabled people. Bus providers in south Gloucestershire were criticised for cutting bus links to Cossham Hospital without full public consultation or an equalities impact assessment.

Disabled bus users told the committee there was a need for talking bus stops, real time information and large print timetables. Action to stop taxi drivers refusing to take disabled people was also called for.  

Committee chair Baroness Deech said: ‘Over the course of our inquiry we have been struck by how disabled people are let down across the whole spectrum of life.’

She added: ‘Access to public buildings remains an unnecessary challenge to disabled people.’

She recommended that all public bodies review how they communicate with disabled people, involving disabled people in this process.

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