In the United Kingdom, businesses that are welcoming and inclusive to disabled people are able to tap into a revenue stream called the Purple Pound. It is essentially a win-win situation for businesses to ensure they’re accessible as they will not only demonstrate that they do not discriminate, they will also show they’re committed to ensuring disabled people are able to access their services and facilities and businesses can increase revenue and improve their image and reputation.
The Purple Pound is the combined spending powers of disabled households in the United Kingdom, a disabled household is where at least one resident is disabled. It is estimated that the current value of the Purple Pound is an eye-watering £274 billion. In the United Kingdom more than 1 in 5 consumers have a disability, and there are more than 14 million disabled people and yet there are still many businesses and venues that are not accessible.
In 2010, the Equality Act was introduced which protects people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The Act has a set of nine protected characteristics, which legally protect individuals. As disability is a protected characteristic, it is unlawful for businesses and services to discriminate against disabled people.
The Equality Act says that public services and private businesses must make reasonable adjustments so that disabled people can access their services. There is no definitive meaning to the term ‘reasonable’ and this can be open to interpretation. It would depend on the on the adjustments required, the individual business and the situation.
There are many adjustments that can improve accessibility for disabled people though these include;
- Provision of an accessible toilet facility
- A fixed or portable ramp
- Provision of a hearing or induction loop
- Introduction of an autism or quiet hour
- Changing the venue of a meeting or event to an accessible space
*This list is not exhausitve, and is just an example of some of the adjustments that can be made to improve accessibility.
It is worth noting that most accessibility solutions can often be cost effective and easy to implement and the return of investment on accessibility, along with the legal requirements should act as an incentive, which businesses should prioritise.
Businesses and service providers should think ahead and consider the requirements of disabled people, this can often eliminate potential barriers that have previously not been identified. The Accessible Guide was founded and is managed by disabled people with lived experiences of exclusion and we are here to support businesses to remain and become more welcoming and inclusive.
It is important to us that we work with businesses to support them to become accessible, by doing this we not only help businesses tap into a new revenue stream but we will also create genuine opportunities for inclusion, which is something we will always strive to achieve.