A PARLIAMENTARY question over whether restaurants and hotels should be allowed to display a disabled symbol in their advertising has sparked a debate among groups representing people with disabilities.
Gordon Prentice, Labour MP for Pendle, suggested that restaurants and hotels with disabled access should not only be permitted but required to put the wheelchair logo alongside their advertisements.
Munday Todd, chief executive of pressure group for the disabled Tourism For All, agreed that the symbol should be used to show wheelchair access, but only if the business is inspected and approved by a tourist board or the Holiday Care charity.
But Neil Betteridge, head of projects and campaigns for the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, said that the current sign, depicting a wheelchair user, could cause confusion if displayed in advertisements.
"What exactly would a restaurant be saying with this symbol? Facilities at present are so variable it is hard to come up with a single logo," he said.
Of the 8.6 million disabled people in this country, just 800,000 of these are wheelchair users.
The Government is working with the groups to design a single logo that will show that services are accessible to all.
From October next year hotels and restaurants, together with other providers of services, will not be allowed to refuse entry to guide dogs. From 2004 they will be required to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or provide means to avoid obstructions making it difficult for disabled people to use their services.