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High street should pursue the purple pound

27 August 2014

Thousands of high street businesses could effectively be turning away the custom of 1 in 5 people by not attracting disabled people, the Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper said today (27 August 2014).

Purple pound

Research from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shown disabled people find shopping the most difficult experience for accessibility, followed by going to the cinema, theatre and concerts. Drinking and eating out at pubs and restaurants was third on the list.

The DWP estimates that households with a disabled person have a combined income of £212 billion, dubbed the ‘purple pound’, after housing costs. The report suggests that high street businesses could be boosted by attracting disabled people and their families.

Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper said:

“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. 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.”

The Minister has written to more than 200 of Britain’s biggest businesses and more than 80 trade organisations with a combined 420,000 members, as part of the Accessible Britain Challenge – a call to communities to be more accessible to disabled people and their families.

Businesses are required by law to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. There are many easy and low-cost ways to improve accessibility including:

  • clearing clutter from corridors and aisles
  • printing menus, leaflets and brochures in at least 12 point font, 14 point is ideal and being prepared to do larger print if requested
  • training staff so they are confident in offering assistance when requested, for example, reading a menu out loud or writing down a price
  • provide parking for disabled customers or make sure staff know where the nearest parking is located

You can view the report at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/high-street-could-be-boosted-by-212-billion-purple-pound-by-attracting-disabled-people-and-their-families

In August 2012 launched a business guide aimed at making more firms aware of the then ‘£80 billion’ potential spending power of disabled people is launched.