News story

Ministers call on business to improve disabled access ahead of the 2012 Games

In 2012 one million disabled visitors are expected in London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games bringing with them millions of pounds in business…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


In 2012 one million disabled visitors are expected in London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games bringing with them millions of pounds in business. Now is the time for British businesses to start preparing for these customers to be part of the Paralympic Games when they arrive in London in 730 days time.

To encourage businesses to become more accessible the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) commissioned a report setting out the opportunities that disabled customers bring.

The report “2012 Legacy for Disabled People: Inclusive and Accessible Business” shows that:

  • Disabled consumers are a significant but poorly addressed market worth £40-£80 billion p.a.
  • For an average business disabled customers may account for up to 20% of the customer base.
  • 32% of disabled people have difficulty accessing goods and services they want to use.
  • This means small companies could be losing 1 in 5 of their customers.
  • The risk of losing business to a more accessible competitor is high as consumer experiences of disabled people affect the choices of family and friends.

The report highlighted that the main reasons for disabled customers’ switching to a more accessible competitor include: poor customer service, inaccessible telephone systems and inaccessible printed information.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“We want to be sure that businesses will be able to meet the needs of these valuable customers - not just because it is fair or the law but because it makes good business sense.

“This report makes a clear economic case that businesses that are more accessible will be more profitable.”

Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said:

“The 2012 Games provide a powerful opportunity for the private sector to reach out to disabled customers, counter disability stereotypes and showcase their equality credentials. Disabled consumers are a significant proportion of the UK consumer market and businesses could be missing up to a 20% of the market by not reaching out to them.

“It might only take one small change to make a business significantly more accessible to disabled people and we are developing initiatives to support businesses to become more inclusive and accessible in the lead up to the Games and beyond.”

Case studies and advice on how to improve disabled access to a range of businesses can be found in the report.

These include the Hytte, a provider of self-catering accommodation in Northumberland, which incorporated accessibility at the planning stage of the building and has occupancy levels of 97% compared to the country average of 55%.

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information or queries on this announcement please contact Lucy Michael-Sutton on 020 7215 5977 or email [](

  2. Atkins Management Consultants were commissioned to write this report. To download a copy of the report visit:

  3. You can view the business case for accessible tourism and see a case study supporting this on the DCMS website here:

  4. The Paralympics will start on the 29 of August 2012 and run until the 9 of September. The Olympic Games will start on the 27 of July and run until the 12 of August.

  5. In terms of size, scale and organisational complexity, the Paralympic Games are the world’s second biggest sporting event. Over 4,000 athletes from 150 countries will be competing in 471 events across 20 sports in 11 days. With more athletes and teams destined to compete in London than at any previous Paralympic Games, we are determined to provide the arenas and the audiences to spur them on to achieve extraordinary feats - and to change attitudes to disability issues and in the way sporting events are delivered.

  6. There are several ways you can be part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games:

  • If you want to buy a ticket, there will be 2 million tickets on sale next year, so sign up now to the ticketing pre-registration scheme;
  • If you want to volunteer, there will be roles for up to 70,000 Gamesmaker volunteers. Around a third of these will be needed for the Paralympic Games. To find out if you’ve got what it takes to be a Gamesmaker, visit the website now;
  • Even if you don’t buy a ticket or volunteer, there are many more ways to be part of the Paralympic Games. The education programme is promoting the Paralympic values in over 14,000 schools around the country. The Cultural Olympiad will produce the largest arts, cultural and sporting programme of work by disabled people ever seen in the UK. The Paralympic Torch Relay will give the public a chance to support the Paralympic Games on the streets of the UK.
  1. BIS online newsroom contains the latest press notices. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See []( for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone




Name Lucy-Michael Sutton Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5977 Fax



Published 30 August 2010