According to the Extra Costs Commission, the UK’s 12 million disabled population has an estimated spending power of £212bn. This begs the question, are businesses missing out on this market, known as the purple pound? The Business Disability Forum thinks so, which is why it has created a new category in its Disability-smart Awards scheme, to recognise businesses that actively work to help drive down the costs for disabled consumers.
The Colour of Money
Both the grey and pink pound are recognised as terms describing the purchasing power of older and LGBT demographics, respectively. The purple pound is increasingly visible as representing the consumer interests of people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities are a considerable economic force,” comments Paul Green director of St Helens-based Versatile Lift Company. “And this is now recognised more and more by disability rights campaigners and other groups.”
Purple, are a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving employment opportunities for disabled people. They have commissioned research that indicates that disabled people are left financially disadvantaged by lack of provision, and can end up spending around £500 more a month more than other people on transport, care, shopping and other essential goods.
“In effect, they’re caught in a vicious circle,” Paul says. “The discrimination that restricts disabled consumers’ spending their disposable income in some areas, compels them have to spend extra in others.”
The adjustments businesses need to make to meet the needs of disabled consumers are not complex. One key area is in staff training, ensuring that employees are able to understand the requirements of disabled customers without being condescending. Another is in access provision.
“Making adjustments for disabled customers in terms of specialist lifts, for example, is going to be a sound investment for many businesses. Proper access protects the business’ reputation and provides for its customers. It guards against indirect disability discrimination but, more importantly, it gives off a powerfully positive signal”
Paul Green, Versatile Lift Company
There is the potential loss of income from not providing adequately for disabled customers and consumers. There is the untapped spending power of the purple pound, whereby businesses could actively attract new customers by providing the right level of access. And there is a social imperative for businesses to be more inclusive. Have you considered these for your business?
To discuss options to make your business more inclusive, please call Versatile Lift Company on 0800 028 1972. Alternatively, visit versatileliftcompany.co.uk to read about the work that they have done for other companies.