Some disabled people have been “let down” by the Equality Act when it comes to access to public transport, a disabled campaigner has told members of the House of Lords.Gwynneth Pedler, a member of the user-led campaigning organisation Transport for All, told peers that wheelchair-users were often “helpless” in trying to access wheelchair spaces on buses when they find them occupied by pushchairs or non-disabled passengers.She said that many members of Transport for All had “given up the struggle” and no longer access transport because it was “too great a risk”.She told the committee examining the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people that she had once been refused access to buses four times in one week because there were pushchairs in the wheelchair space.Pedler (pictured, giving evidence) said: “Everyone takes possession of our wheelchair space. That’s the greatest problem. We are helpless to get this put right. It happens all the time.”She added: “I am talking as a disabled person. I haven’t got fine words for you. I am talking to you as I experience it, along with all the other members in Transport for All.”Told by Graham Pendlebury, the Department for Transport’s director of local transport, that the bus industry had made progress in providing accessible vehicles, she said: “I don’t argue that these buses are accessible, but if we cannot get on them and we cannot access the pavements because they are too dangerous for us, having access is of little importance to us.“Progress has certainly slowed – this is the opinion of Transport for All – since the Equality Act.”The disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell asked the three-person panel whether it was fair that disabled passengers had to phone up 24 hours in advance when they wanted assistance to use a train.She said: “This is the blight of disabled people’s lives, that they cannot be spontaneous.”Pedler said that TFA saw the requirement for disabled people to book assistance 24 hours in advance of a train journey as a “great injustice”, while some companies asked for 48 hours’ notice.She said: “It stops us from being flexible. We can’t change our mind and go out to lunch with a friend. It takes away our independence and our freedom of choice.”And she said she had often been unable to board a train even after booking assistance in advance.Keith Richards, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said having to give notice two days in advance was “not equality”, and that it should be possible to send a text or use a smartphone app just a couple of hours beforehand to alert the relevant rail operator.Pedler also told the committee that the Liberal Democrat transport minister Norman Baker had promised five years ago that laws on access to taxis, originally included 20 years ago in the Disability Discrimination Act – and later in section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 – would be implemented, but the promise was “taking a very long time to come to fruition”.Richards said it made “absolute sense” for section 165 to be implemented.He said: “There are many, many stories that we hear of people who are charged extra, who aren’t assisted or who aren’t even provided with the service because the taxi-driver will see them in advance and drive somewhere else. That is completely unacceptable.”Pendlebury told the committee there were “a number of reasons” why section 165 had not yet been implemented, and he said it was “under constant review”.He said: “The concerns were around burdens on drivers and whether this particular provision would actually fully meet the varied needs of different types of disabled people.“I don’t believe that taxi-drivers or minicab drivers are bad people and threatening them with enforcement and fines – whether that is the right way to bring about a change in procedure.“I think that government is keen to try to avoid a very heavy-handed implementation and to make sure that enforcement is a last resort.”But he added: “Clearly we have seen much evidence about how catastrophic it can be for people when they are either mistreated in this way or denied access.”Baroness Deech, the crossbench peer who chairs the committee, said it had been the “will of parliament” that section 165 should be introduced.She said: “The burden is now being borne by those people who need those taxis and can’t get them. There can be no questioning of this.”She added: “I still haven’t heard a decent reason why section 165 should not be brought into effect, so we note that.”And she asked Pendlebury to ask his minister to write to the committee to explain why section 165 had not yet been implemented and when that would happen.Baroness Campbell asked Pendlebury to show the committee the research on which the government had based its position that implementing section 165 could be a “burden” on drivers.
Amendment (f) At end, add “; notes the steps taken by the Government, the EU and its Member States to minimise any disruption that may occur should the UK leave the EU without an agreed Withdrawal Agreement and proposes that the Government should build on this work as follows:1. That the Government should publish the UK’s Day One Tariff Schedules immediately;2. To allow businesses to prepare for the operation of those tariffs, that the Government should seek an extension of the Article 50 process to 10.59pm on 22 May 2019, at which point the UK would leave the EU;3. Thereafter, in a spirit of co-operation and in order to begin discussions on the Future Relationship, the Government should offer a further set of mutual standstill agreements with the EU and Member States for an agreed period ending no later than 30 December 2021, during which period the UK would pay an agreed sum equivalent to its net EU contributions and satisfy its other public international law obligations; and4. The Government should unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK.”This amendment has the support of both Brexiteers – e.g. Jacob Rees-Mogg – and former Remainers –e.g. Nicky Morgan – in the Conservative Party. Its proposal is otherwise known as the Malthouse Compromise. At PMQs today, the PM said the government had already agree to most of the plan but cannot agree to point 3. It will nonetheless be a free vote for Tories. Unlikely to pass.The Prime Minister’s motionThat this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement.May’s own motion on ‘no deal’ rejects the outcome. But it also specifies that the rejection applies only to the current exit date of 29th March, and emphasises the need to vote for a deal. This will be a free vote for Tories. Certain to pass. Tags:Brexit /Brexit amendments / Line 1, leave out from “House” to end and add “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship.”. Amendment (a) When they start voting at 7pm tonight at the end of the ‘no deal’ motion debate, MPs face three choices. They will vote either for or against amendment (a), amendment (f) and finally the government’s motion on ‘no deal’. Here’s a quick guide to what that means… The Spelman/Dromey amendment, which has cross-party support, would decisively rule out a no deal outcome – without the caveats included in the Prime Minister’s original motion. It is intended to make the final vote tonight more straight-forward. If passed, the rejection of ‘no deal’ would not be restricted to March and would not slyly ‘note’ that – as the PM likes to say – the best way to avoid no deal is to vote for her deal. Reasonable chance of passing, but Tories are being whipped to vote against.
AT our recent away match at Salford a Saints supporter had his trainers damaged and received a foot injury due to the activation of a flare by an individual in the North Stand at the AJ Bell Stadium.Flares and the like are prohibited from all stadia and any person found in possession will be banned for life.The Club run the risk of being disciplined and fined which is unacceptable.Increased searches will be implemented in future which impact on all supporters.Any information regarding the identity of the person(s) responsible could possibly save the club any punitive action.