BT £24million giveaway helps 14 million customers say no to 0870
9 January 2009
BT has now offered some New Year cheer to 14 million customers by becoming the first UK telephone company to make calls to 0870 and 0845 numbers free. Customers have often complained that their calling packages did not include the 0870 and 0845 numbers which are frequently used by banks, insurance companies and even doctors' surgeries. Calls to these numbers cost more than usual, with Sky and Virgin charging around 10p a minute for a daytime 0870 call.
New European regulation guarantees more rights for disabled people travelling by air in Europe
A new European regulation introduced on 26 July 2008 guarantees more rights for disabled people and people with reduced mobility when travelling by air in Europe. Under new European law, if you are disabled or have difficulty moving around, you will have improved rights to assistance when you fly to, from and within Europe.
You do not need to be permanently or physically disabled to benefit from these rights. In fact, anyone who has difficulty moving around, for example, because of their disability or age, can receive help when they fly.
The law affects the whole of the air travel process, not just the flight itself. It also covers booking your flights, arriving at the airport, checking in, getting on and off the plane and leaving the airport. For more information see the step-by-step guide to your rights to fly that is on the website of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The regulation applies to tour operators and travel agents as well as to airports and airlines. This means that tour operators and travel agents must pass on your needs to the airlines, and they in turn must inform the airports of the individual services required. For example, airlines must carry passengers' medical equipment and up to two pieces of mobility equipment free of charge. They must also carry assistance dogs free of charge (on permitted routes).
If you have a complaint which cannot be resolved on the spot, you can contact the EHRC for advice. They are responsible for dealing with complaints about UK airlines and airports in Scotland, Wales and England and can advise you of your rights and what further action you can take. They will provide advice and example letters to send to the appropriate body - be that the travel agent, the airline, the airport or another organisation.
If the complaint is not resolved within a set timescale, they can take the matter up further. They will liaise with colleagues in the Department for Transport and the CAA (the airline regulator) and other European Union nations to improve services to disabled and less mobile passengers.
Equality and Human Rights Commission website: www.equalityhumanrights.com/airtravel
EHRC Scotland helpline
Telephone: 08456 045510
Textphone: 08456 045520
Fax: 08456 045530
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday, except Wednesday 9am - 8pm.
Glasgow Disability Alliance to provide Lifelong Learning for Disabled Glaswegians
Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) has recently secured a total of £345,000 from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Big Lottery to enable it to deliver Lifelong Learning to disabled Glaswegians.
A combination of compelling factors demonstrates a clear need for the Learning project. GDA's expertise and experience of working with, and for, disabled people identified a lack of access points to learning, employment and civic life for disabled people. As a result of the need identified and through extensive consultation with members GDA developed the project - Lifelong Learning for Disabled Glaswegians - aimed at disabled people who require support to access learning, education and training. This project will develop alongside GDA's core activities, which promote wider inclusion and involvement of disabled people in Glasgow
Companions go to the cinema for free
The Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) has introduced a card that allows a companion free entry to participating cinemas. This is a national card that can be used to verify that the holder is entitled to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema.
To apply for the card, you will need to meet one or more of the following criteria:
Be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA)
Be a registered blind person
Be a holder of a Disabled Person's Railcard
The card is valid for 3 years from the date of issue and application forms are available from cinemas across the UK supporting this card. Alternatively, a form can be downloaded from the CEA website at www.ceacard.co.uk A processing fee of five pounds is payable for each card and this has to be sent with the completed application to the following address:
The Card Network
The Technology Centre
Rossmore Business Park
Cheshire Ch65 3EN
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