Train firms must do more
It has recently come to my attention that three of the UK’s 27 train operators – Govia Thameslink Railway, Northern Rail and Grand Central –have an outright ban on mobility scooters, a situation which leaves some passengers entirely unable to travel.
Those who are reliant on mobility scooters are incredibly vulnerable when travelling on trains.
The ban has been blamed on the size and age of trains. Govia Thameslink says train doorways are too narrow and there is insufficient space inside the trains to turn.
It thus requires passengers to fold up their mobility scooters – something which isn’t possible for many members of The British Polio Fellowship, who are reliant on mobility scooters to have the freedom to travel like everyone else. It’s shocking in this day and age that better provision has not been made to accommodate disabled passengers.
Whilst welcoming news that Govia Thameslink has pledged to replace its stock with more accessible trains, Northern Rail is reluctant to make similar moves.
It is completely unacceptable that any company providing an essential public service should be so unwilling to accommodate disabled passengers.
Assisting those living with challenging medical conditions such as PPS, and giving thousands of men and women the independence to travel alone is hugely important.
How it isn’t a priority to these train companies is beyond me.
To contact the British Polio Fellowship, phone 0800 043 1935, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship
Law puts our values at risk
Ours is supposedly the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world, and we talk often of our British belief in fair play. Yet with the Trade Union Bill, this Government are putting these values at risk.
We’ve already seen them make it harder to register to vote, soon they will redraw the Parliamentary map in a way that benefits the Conservative Party. Furthermore, hidden in the Trade Union Bill is a clause that is deliberately designed to cut off trade unions’ financial support for the Labour Party – while doing nothing to limit the millionaires that support the Tories.
They’re attacking democracy by silencing opposition, whether it’s from unions, campaigners, or charities, and by changing the rules to make it harder for anyone else to win an election.
As the House of Lords debate the Bill over the next weeks, I hope the Government will take the opportunity to embody the values of democracy and decency they claim to support, and drop these proposals.
Ronald W Corbin via email
Don’t stand by
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 is Don’t stand by. At over 3,500 events across the country, hundreds of thousands of people will hear about bystanders, those whose silence allowed persecution and genocides to take place. And we will honour the rescuers and resisters. In our film for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016, Susan Pollack, a survivor of the Holocaust, tells a surprising story of surviving genocide. Please visit dontstandby.hmd.org.uk and share the film so Susan’s story is shared as widely as possible at 1pm on Wednesday.
Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust