Retailers admit to having some way to go on disabled access

UK
retailers are determined to address the needs of disabled customers although
they still have some way to go, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Ahead
of today’s changes to the Disability Discrimination Act – which state that
businesses must take reasonable steps to tackle physical barriers preventing
disabled people from accessing their services – the BRC said retailers have
made great strides.

Kevin
Hawkins, BRC director general, said: "The retail sector has made huge
efforts throughout the years to improve access for disabled customers and while
the majority of retailers already meet the requirements set out in Part III of
the DDA, we are not claiming to be perfect.

“However,
these new legal duties present an opportunity and challenge for retailers to
really open up services to those 10 million adults in the UK
with a disability and their friends and families.”

The
BRC may be confident, but retailers on London’s
busiest shopping street have a long way to go, according to the Disability Rights
Commission (DRC).

In
a highly critical report, the DRC said London’s
Oxford Street
had poor changing-room facilities, toilets that were difficult to use, and
cinemas that were inaccessible to wheelchair users.

DRC
chairman Bert Massie said: "While it’s clear that some shops and services
are getting it right for the disabled consumer, there are those that have done
little or nothing to prepare for the legislation."

By Daniel Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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