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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11728: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 2 October 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that some taxi and minicab operators do not allow assistance dogs in their vehicles.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 25 October 2017

As a Government we are committed to promoting and protecting equality and human rights for disabled people enabling them to participate in and to make a full contribution to daily and public life, and we recognise the vital role which assistance dogs, including guide dogs, play in helping disabled people with practical tasks and in providing emotional support and independence.

Within Scotland taxis and private hire cars are licensed by Licensing Authorities (local authorities) under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The licences of both taxis and private hire cars should contain a prescribed condition that requires the driver to a) permit assistance dogs (as defined by The Taxi Drivers’ Licences (Carrying of Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs) (Scotland) Regulation 2003), to accompany the disabled person on any journey and, b) not to make an additional charge for this. However a Notice of Exemption can be issued by the local authority to the driver, if there are medical grounds as to why the driver should be exempted from complying with this condition. Such notices should be displayed clearly on the vehicle so that potential customers can see this.

Where a customer has a complaint this should be directed to the local Licensing Authority, made up of locally elected councillors, who can seek a review of the licence.