Disability champions will be recruited for key sectors in business including retail, hospitality, sport, construction and manufacturing to promote the benefits of being inclusive to their own industries.
There are more than 11 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households - ‘the purple pound’ - is £249 billion. The new champions will be recruited to demonstrate the business sense of making products and services available to a group of people who are regularly excluded from many shops, restaurants, bars and other public places.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt, said:
At this time of year, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties and meals out with friends and family should be something everyone can enjoy and it’s completely unacceptable that disabled people often miss out.
There are some great examples of inclusive businesses that are passionate about driving social change. That’s why I’m asking them to champion a war against inaccessibility, and encourage other businesses to benefit from the purple pound - the spending power of disabled people.
Increasing accessibility is the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense too.
Many businesses are already recognising the needs and the business potential of the disabled population. Sainsbury’s is already supporting the government in promoting the value of employing disabled people. Marks and Spencer has a clothing range especially designed for disabled children as well as accessible stores, and restaurants like Jamie’s and Pret A Manger are leading the way in making sure disabled customers get the same quality of service as everyone else. The new accessibility champions will help showcase the best examples and show other businesses the merit of making disabled customers a priority.
Expressions of interest to become business sector champions are being invited from successful business people with strong networks, who are self-motivated in leading social change for disabled people. The roles will be voluntary, unpaid and initially for one year.
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