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Mid Suffolk District Council ‘puts record straight’ after inaccurate claim about disabled taxi passengers

By Mike Scialom

Mark Westley Photography'Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market.
Mark Westley Photography'Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market.

Mid Suffolk District Council says it wanted to set the record straight after discrediting a press release claiming the authority had not made the right preparations for disabled taxi passengers.

Muscular Dystrophy UK said only 21 of 47 councils in the East of England were expected to meet the government-recommended October deadline to ensure equal treatment for disabled taxi passengers.

A change in the Equality Act, enacted in April, means taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra.

The law only applies to drivers registered on council lists of wheelchair accessible taxis, known as Section 167 lists.

It was claimed their data, obtained via Freedom of Information requests with all councils in England, Scotland and Wales, showed Mid Suffolk District Council had no plans to produce this Section 167 list.

But a spokesperson for the authority said they were happy to put the record straight – explaining a list had been maintained by the council since 2011.

Across the border, South Norfolk Council were among those expected to meet government guidance and produce a list later this year.

South Norfolk Cabinet member Lee Hornby said: “We are looking at implementing both sections 165 and 167 of the Equalities Act of 2010 by October 6, the deadline set by central government.

“These two sections of the act aim to prevent discrimination against wheelchair users by taxis and private hire vehicles.”

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