Business

Retailers 'must improve accessibility for disabled people'

Car parked in disabled parking space Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The government says businesses can do more to improve accessibility

Retailers are missing out on income from spending by disabled people owing to a lack of accessibility at stores, the government has said.

The latest figure from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggests that UK households with a disabled person have a combined income of £212bn after housing costs.

Disabled people said that finding accessible shopping was hardest.

This was followed by difficulties when going to the cinema and theatre.

Eating out at pubs and restaurants was the third toughest experience for accessibility.

"We want businesses up and down our High Streets to realise they're excluding more than 12 million customers and their families if they fail to cater for disabled people," said Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper.

"That's the equivalent to the populations of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester combined.

"It's not just about fairness, it makes good business sense to be accessible."

He called on businesses to clear clutter inside and outside their premises, print paperwork such as menus using bigger font sizes, improve staff training and provide specific parking spots for disabled customers.

The campaign comes as a commission on the extra costs faced by disabled people starts its work.

The chairman of the commission, Robin Hindle Fisher, told the BBC News website earlier this month that businesses needed to be smarter and consumers with disabilities needed to be savvier by shopping around.

The charity, Scope, claims that the living costs premium facing disabled people amounts to £550 a month. This, it claims, is not covered by the typical total of £360 a month available to people through the main benefits to which they are entitled.

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