Today, the 13th November 2018 is Purple Tuesday. The deafening silence and the odd Aberdeen voice shouting the “fit the oatcake is ‘at” should maybe tell you that for a” National” Day of Access to Shops for the disabled, it has not exactly set the heather on fire.
The website of Purple Tuesday state:
“Nearly one in every five people in the UK has a disability or impairment, and over half of households have a connection to someone with a disability. Their collective spending power – the Purple Pound – is worth £249 billion to the UK economy.”
I seem to have developed a heavy sigh that exhales when I hear about these “ Awareness Days”. The approach of the well–intentioned organisers, is to raise awareness, amongst retailers and businesses that the “Purple Pound” is worth having access for, and I would agree with that. ( Provided that the Government have not stripped all their benefits and entitlements away )
However, the Law- the Equality Act 2010 is already in force and the retailers, businesses, employers and transport should be keeping to the letter of it plus a lot more.
So the fact an “Awareness Day” for Disability Access t is still being promoted, is somehow quite backward looking. We are not asking for people to understand, we are asking the majority of shops, transport, businesses and leisure facilities to comply with the existing law.
Some examples that we can all identify with are toilets for the disabled where bikes, storage, boxes and other “stuff” gets stored in there. Signage that helps sight –impaired, or lack of space between clothing racks.
The list goes on.
There are two good links to a video interview today on the BBC media platforms here and here.
One of the interviewees was the disabled founder of Proudlock Associcates.
Tracey Proudlock who was similarly minded to myself stating that we need “ awareness” and compliance with the law 365 days a year – not just one day.. She is also on Twitter @TraceyProudlock If you wish to see her interview on BBC Breakfast then use the BBC Player, and fast forward to around 0748 13/11/2018.
You can also watch a similar video and angle on Purple Tuesday at Sky TV News here
People with disability have always known that the world is not set up for them. However, decades of campaigning, lobbying and raising awareness resulted in the Equality Act 2010, which allegedly was supposed to change everything. Disabled people are still campaigning, lobbying and struggling to receive their entitlements, benefits and get access.
If a Government and right –wing populist media attack the disabled for eight years , stripping them of their dignity, benefits or entitlements and vilify them as workshy burdens, then it is no wonder that ignorant and emboldened businesses simply ignore the Law on Equality, and officialdom seems unable to act by enforcing the law.
The link at the foot of this comment, was published at Disability News Service. The article raises questions about the independence of the Purple Group, and whether there is any ulterior motive in their tie -up with the DWP and big retailers. An Extract reads:
” Purple is hoping to engage with another 500 retailers across the country, all of which will be asked to make at least one pledge to improve the experience of their disabled customers and show a video to their staff that describes five ways they can improve their customer service for disabled people.
But Disability Labour, which represents disabled people who are members of the Labour party – but is independent of the party itself – has called for a boycott of the event. It has raised fears that those companies taking part could pass CCTV pictures from the day to DWP to use against disabled people who have made benefit claims.
It highlighted how Sainsbury’s has previously admitted that it occasionally passes CCTV pictures to DWP.
The article referred to in the Disability News Service can be found here.
It is not readily obvious in their article.