Trade concern at disability report

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

Disabled people are still being let down according to the House of Lords
Disabled people are still being let down according to the House of Lords

Related tags: Disabled people, Disability, License

Concerned licensees have hit back against a House of Lords report which argued that pubs breaching the Equality Act by not providing facilities for disabled people should be refused a licence or be shut down.

The report found many pubs and restaurants were still failing to provide basic facilities and that disabled people are being ‘let down across the whole spectrum of life’. Peers recommended changes to the Licensing Act which would grant local authorities extra powers to refuse licences.

However licensees res-ponding to the report stressed that while they wanted to make their businesses accessible to everyone, issues surrounding costs, lease conditions and the difficulty of adapting old or listed buildings meant it wasn’t always possible.

Expense 

Paul Crisp, who runs private lease the Rampant Horse in Freethorpe, Norkfolk, said: “In my experience, the trade is up for everything we can do to make pubs accessible. But my pub is a 200-year-old listed building. To be fully compliant, I would have to add another door and four ramps where’s there’s steps, which is a fair old expense.

“We’re so highly taxed as an industry and there’s no help. I’ve never had an issue with not being able to get somebody in a wheelchair in; it’s not always easy but we always manage.”

Tim Gitten, licensee at the Travellers Rest in Exeter, added: “I’m sure we would all love to cater for everyone but there are old buildings that can’t be adapted – what are they to do?”

Restrictions​ 

Writing in The Telegraph​, Baroness Thomas, who was part of the committee that produced the report, insisted that the Lords understood the restrictions faced by some businesses.

“By law, restaurants, pubs and clubs have to be accessible to disabled people and provide facilities such as disabled lavatories, but there will be times when it simply not feasible to make the adjustments, perhaps on ground of practicality or cost.

“Licensing authorities can judge when it would be un-reasonable to insist on making adjustments,” she added.  

Related topics: Health & safety

Related news

Show more