When I recently met with local group Stoke-on-Trent Area Network for Disability (STAND) I was deeply concerned to hear from their members about the ongoing problems of access to public buildings. I was told that residents attending the North Staffordshire combined justice centre in Newcastle where PIP appeals are held faced a large number of steps, couldn't park or were asked to remove life saving equipment to be scanned to simply get in the building.
STAND as part of their complaint, which I support, have suggested several small changes that will make the building accessible for all and not to add further stress and anxiety to residents taking part in appeals. In the House of Commons I tabelled the following written question: What discussions he has had with HM Courts & Tribunals Service on improving physical access to courts and tribunals for people with disabilities.
At the start of this clip you can see the Ministers answer to this. Followed by my follow up verbal supplementary question. The Minister's answer was positive and I shall post it below this text. But the people I represent need more than warm words, so ill be are ensuring action is taken before thanking the government just yet:
The Minister replied:
"The hon. Gentleman is right: I am aware of that. The charity he mentions—the Stoke-on-Trent Area Network for Disability—made a complaint, and HMCTS had a meeting on 5 April to discuss the issue. It is looking at the feasibility of implementing the suggestions that were made, such as putting in place automatic doors, signage and improvements to the waiting area, but I would be very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman and his constituents to discuss them".