John met Barnsley guide dog owner Steve Waller, and his dog Evie, in the Houses of Parliament to discuss the shocking discrimination faced by those who use service dogs.
According to the charity Guide Dogs, three quarters of guide dog owners have been refused service in shops, restaurants and taxis.
To highlight this issue, over 100 guide dog owners from all over the country gathered to describe their experiences.
John said: “It is unacceptable and illegal for businesses to turn away customers simply becasue they have a guide dog with them. I fully support Guide Dogs’ efforts in bringing this important issue to the attention of MPs and the public and we must do whatever we can make sure business owners understand and obey the law.”
The MP for Wentworth and Dearne pledged his support for the charity’s ‘Access All Areas’ campaign to ensure guide dog owners can carry out everyday activities without the risk of being turned away.
According to law, guide dog owners are allowed the same access to shops, restaurants and taxis as everyone else. Yet guide dog owners are regularly told that their dog is not allowed in.
John also backed Guide Dogs’ call for disability equality training, and for offenders to be properly punished under the law when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.
James White, Senior Advocacy Manager for Guide Dogs, said “Guide dog owners rely on their dogs to feel confident and supported. Being turned away by a business leaves people feeling angry, upset and embarrassed. It can rob people of their independence and can leave them unable to do everyday activities.”
“Despite the law being clear on this issue, guide dog owners are still experiencing this form of discrimination every day and this needs to change.”