Monday, 27 December 2010
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
There are approximately 10 million disabled people in Great Britain covered by the Disability Discrimination Act: about 18 percent of the population. There are over 6.9 million disabled people are of working age which represents 19 percent of the working population. Only 50 percent of disabled people of working age are in employment compared to 81 percent of non-disabled people of working age. 76% of disabled people with a higher education qualification are in employment compared with 90% of non-disabled people. Of those with no qualification, 23% of disabled people are in employment compared with 60% of non-disabled people. Disabled people are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to have no qualification at all. Disabled people are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be out of work and claiming benefits. Of the 2.4 million disabled people on state benefits and not in work nearly a million would like to work. The incidence of disability increases with age. Whilst 9 per cent of adults aged 16-24 are disabled, this increases to about 33 per cent in the 50 to retirement age category. In 2004 40% of the English population are over 45, the age at which the incidence of disability begins to increase.
And here is the rub.
One in every three people either has a disability or has a close relative or friend who is disabled. Office of National Statistics, Census 2001 The estimated annual purchasing power of people with disabilities is £80 billion. Family Resource Survey 2002/2003
That means that the chances are that either you or a friend is disabled, so it's very close to all of us. AND if you have a business then there is around £80billion worth of purchasing that you might be missing out on.
And if they aren't good enough reasons then you have a legal responsibility. So what is holding businesses back from making access better? It seems that many businesses think the work would be too expensive. Others think that it doesn't matter. What do you think?
I believe that you can improve access for most businesses and properties
Just back from a trip to Liverpool to carry out a disability access audit for a company before they sign the lease on their office.
While travelling I sat next to a lady who was blind and we had a most interesting discussion. Well, actually she answered some questions I had in the back of my mind.
Most people just associate disability with wheelchair users: they forget those who can't hear or see to well, have learning difficulties, arthritis, are very short or tall, have no feelings through nerve loss or the many other impairments.Some disabilities are not obvious and some that you think will be, aren't There are also different levels of disability. For example most people who are registered blind can actually see to some degree. They may just be able to see shapes and colours: might only be able to read at a few inches away from their face. I remember a friend who had a guide dog but could read at very close quarters. When she read the paper on the train she'd get comments - so she stopped reading in public. But on one occasion I recall her almost falling over on the beach when she just couldn't see a large piece of driftwood.
My co-traveller told me how difficult it was recognising steps and stairs. and that she'd fallen down a couple of times.There are special slabs that are used to tell blind people when they are approaching steps and stairs. These are called tactile slabs and the one for steps has a corduroy pattern. These are often used in the wrong place which could lead toreal problems. Only last week I saw the corduroy slabs running along a railway platform. This could be mistaken for a step with dire consequences.