National disabled people’s charity Revitalise has responded to today’s House of Lords report, “The Equality Act 2010: the impact on disabled people” and echoed its call for society to become more inclusive and accessible for disabled people.
The charity is citing a number of recent studies which back up the Lords Committee’s finding that the Equality Act and public venues are failing in their duty of care to disabled people.
In a study of visitor attractions, Revitalise found that just 17% of the UK’s most visited attractions had all their staff trained in disability awareness and 65% of disabled people had decided against visiting a tourist attraction because they found their accessibility information to be insufficient, confusing or difficult to obtain.
The charity also found similar problems on the high street, where over half (55%) of disabled people had experienced negative or unwelcoming treatment from shop staff.
Most recently, Revitalise discovered that the world of sport fared no better. The charity found that only three football clubs in the Premiership – the world’s richest football league – had the recommended number of spaces for wheelchair users, in accordance with guidelines that have been in existence for over 10 years.
In the light of its own research and echoing the recommendations of the Lords Report, Revitalise is urging all public venues to up their game when it comes to their obligations under the Equality Act and stop letting down disabled people.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds said:
“This new report makes very sobering reading indeed.
“It has been six years since the launch of the Equality Act and only four years since the huge outpouring of public goodwill towards disabled people during the 2012 London Paralympics.
“Now, in the run-up to the Rio Paralympics, it is very disheartening to find that however far we think we have come in making society more open and accessible for disabled people, we haven’t come nearly far enough.
“Can our public venues really afford to ignore the needs of disabled people? The spending power of disabled people is worth around £212 billion annually to the national economy, but public venues risk losing out on this valuable income by not making simple and reasonable adjustments for disabled people, as they are obliged to under the Equality Act.
“So there is an economic as well as moral argument for public venues to do more for their disabled customers. Disabled people have every right to expect the same choices and opportunities as anyone else – is this too much to ask?”
Revitalise is a national charity providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers, combining 24-hour nurse-led care with a real holiday experience, at its three accessible UK centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport. Excursions are an integral part of the experience and Revitalise makes a thorough assessment of the accessibility arrangements of each destination to which it takes its guests. Find out more at www.revitalise.org.uk.