Disability awareness (PHV drivers)

I believe that everyone should have the right to travel independently and access services with dignity, and I am pleased that there are tough laws in place to protect those who rely on a guide dog from discrimination. 
 
The Equality Act 2010 makes clear the duties of all people to permit guide dogs without any hindrance. As I am sure you are aware, taxi and PHV drivers convicted of illegally refusing the carriage of assistance dogs already face fines of up to £1,000 in addition to costs, and may also have their licence suspended or revoked by the respective local licensing authority. This is absolutely right, as the independence that a guide dog gives people with disabilities is an important part of their lives.
 
It is my understanding that as of March 2018, only 38 per cent of licensing authorities required drivers to complete disability awareness and equality training. I am therefore pleased that in response to the report of the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing, Ministers have stated that they intend to include in new best practice guidance for licensing authorities that they should require taxi and PHV drivers to complete disability awareness and equality training, make it simple to report discrimination, and take robust action against drivers who have discriminated against disabled passengers. It is also intended that these training requirements will be included in national minimum standards. 
 
While a number of the short-term recommendations which were made in the Task and Finish Group report are a matter for licensing authorities to consider (for example making fuller use of their extensive existing powers), the Government have already begun to take forward some of the recommendations. For example, on 12th February Ministers launched their consultation on draft statutory guidance to be issued to licensing authorities on the use of their powers to protect taxi and PHV passengers, particularly the most vulnerable, from harm, which will run until 22nd April.
 
I am also reassured by Ministers that the reforms that will require changes to legislation such as the introduction of national minimum standards, which will reinforce the consistently high standards that the statutory guidance will bring to the sector, will be made through primary legislation when time allows.