November 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. It was one of the most important acts passed in the fight for equal rights.
Although the Act came into force in 1995, campaigning had begun long before by people who were being discriminated against on the grounds of disability. Protests and demonstrations were held to end discrimination and implement instead, civil rights for disabled people. The DDA was replaced in 2010 with the Equality Act which consolidated separate discrimination laws into a single Act.
Significant progress has been made but the fight for equality has not ended. Survey results are showing that many people living with a disability in Britain feel that the existing Equality Act in its current form does not protect their rights.
Although there is a long way to go, improvements have been made. For instance, under the Equality Act you are protected from discrimination when you are in the workplace, when you use public services like healthcare or educational facilities, or when you use public transport.
If you have a disability that impairs your movement you may find getting out and about difficult but there are ways to make things easier for you. You can get help when using public transport as well as applying for discounts for using public transport. The NHS can help with travel costs and you should also check out local community travel schemes. For more details visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/care-services-equipment-and-care-homes/driving-and-using-public-transport/
Licensed taxis in many larger areas, and all London black cabs, are now wheelchair accessible. Assistance dogs must be allowed to travel with you in the taxi unless the driver has an exemption certificate which may mean they have a medical condition made worse by contact with dogs.
If you are in receipt of a weekly mobility allowance you could apply for a Motability Scheme vehicle as an alternative to keep you mobile and more independent. Even if you don’t drive you can use the scheme to lease a car and nominate three people to drive for you. If the car you wish to lease costs more than your allowance you will be required to pay an additional payment which is known as an Advance Payment. For more details visit: https://www.motability.org.uk/about/about-the-scheme/
There is a huge range of vehicles available and many can be adapted to suit your personal needs. The lease scheme also includes insurance, servicing & maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyres and batteries. The leases tend to run for 3 years at which time you hand the vehicle back and look to lease another car.
From smaller cars that generally have lower running costs and may not therefore need an Advancement Payment, to SUV’s which are bigger, normally have 4×4 capabilities and good ground clearance, there is a great variety of vehicles available to match your needs and your budget. All of the mainstream car manufacturers like Ford, Honda and Mercedes have Motability schemes. Contact your local approved dealer for more information.