The Purple Pound: How discrimination against disabled people costs businesses billions of pounds

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 15, 2016 in Rat News | Subscribe

At the age of 32, Angela Griggs’s accounting career was ticking along quite nicely. Having spent her twenties gradually rising up the ranks at a leading firm, she had become an assistant manager. But her bright future was overshadowed by uncertainty when she suffered a stroke. She lost the use of her right leg and arm. Her speech had become slurred, and her stamina shot. At a time when many people feel they finally have a foothold in life, Griggs faced countless unwelcome learning curves. But she knew that, for her, getting back to work was the only way she would regain a sense of normality. 

“The thing I have always wanted, from laying in hospital, to going back to work to now, is for everything to be back to normal,” says Griggs, now 38 and living in Colchester, Essex. Thankfully, her firm, Scrutton Bland, made sure that they did not lose a valuable member of their team and supported her by reshaping her previous role. 

“I didn’t want to be cossetted and wrapped in cotton wool, even if with the best of intentions Just the chance to succeed and fail and all shades in between, but isn’t that true of everybody?” says Griggs. 

However, not all firms are so accommodating, and the talents of millions of people with impairments are left untapped, according to research by Purple: a non-profit organisation launching on 12 July and dedicated to improving employment opportunities for disabled people by supporting both business and job-hunters. Aside from the obvious moral and legal obligations that employers have to not discriminate, Purple’s research shows that just a five per cent increase in the number of disabled people in employment would boost GDP by £23bn in 2030: a welcome figure in an age of austerity. Yet, negative attitudes towards people with disabilities not only pervade in the jobs market, but bleed into how firms treat customers and clients. And so, businesses lose out on the “purple pound” – a market that is worth £212bn to the UK a year. 

angela-griggs-purple-pound-disabilities.jpg

Perhaps more acutely than any other coloured pound – such as the LGBT “pink pound” or the elderly “grey pound” – the purple pound’s potential relies on people with disabilities being employed in the first place in order for them to spend. The process is, of course, cyclical. Nevertheless, fewer than half of the 11.5 million people in the UK with disabilities are employed compared to almost 82 per cent of the remaining population. Some 45 per cent of UK businesses are nervous about hiring a disabled person, Purple’s research found, citing concerns about the interview process, not knowing whether to help with tasks such as opening doors or pulling out chairs, and falling foul of discrimination law. A worrying 43 per cent said that candidates should disclose disabilities on their CVs, despite there being no legal obligation to do so. 

As a result of discrimination, whether intended or subconscious, disabled people pay around £500 a month more than everyone in transport, care, shopping and specialist goods, according to the charity Scope. 

  • 1/25

    Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts

    The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide

    Getty

  • 2/25

    ‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts

    Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany

    Rex Features

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

  • 4/25

    New online test predicts skin cancer risk

    Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz

  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

    Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign

    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

  • 10/25

    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age

  • 11/25

    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

    Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production

  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

  • 14/25

    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

    Scientists have pinpointed how connections in the brain are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in a study which it is hoped will help in the development of treatments for the debilitating condition. At the early stages of the development of Alzheimer’s disease the synapses – which connect the neurons in the brain – are destroyed, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The synapses are vital for brain function, particularly learning and forming memories

  • 15/25

    Sugar tax

    The Government should introduce a sugar tax to prevent an “obesity crisis” from crippling the NHS, a senior Conservative MP and former health minister has said. Dr Dan Poulter believes that the case for increased taxes on unhealthy sugary products was “increasingly compelling”

    PA

  • 16/25

    Cancer breakthrough offers new hope for survivors rendered infertile by chemotherapy

    A potentially “phenomenal” scientific breakthrough has offered fresh hope to cancer patients rendered infertile by chemotherapy. For the first time, researchers managed to restore ovaries in mice affected by chemotherapy so that they were able to have offspring. The scientists now plan to begin clinical trials to see if the technique, which involves the use of stem cells, will also work in humans by using umbilical cord material and possibly stem cells taken from human embryos, if regulators agree

  • 17/25

    Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole

    An interactive test could help flag up whether you should seek advice from a health professional for one of the most common types of cancer. The test is available on the NHS Choices website and reveals whether you are at risk from the disease and recommends if you should seek help. The mole self-assessment factors in elements such as complexion, the number of times you have been severely sunburnt and whether skin cancer runs in your family. It also quizzes you on the number of moles you have and whether there have been any changes in appearance regarding size, shape and colour

  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

    Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest

  • 21/25

    Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant

    Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

    A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through

    The technology lets paralysed people feel actual sensations when touching objects — including light taps on the mechanical finger — and could be a huge breakthrough for prosthetics, according to its makers. The tool was used to let a 28-year-old man who has been paralysed for more than a decade. While prosthetics have previously been able to be controlled directly from the brain, it is the first time that signals have been successfully sent the other way

  • 23/25

    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

    Unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe, new data has revealed. A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol

  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

Yet, catering to the needs of people with disabilities needn’t be complex nor expensive, stresses Beth Grossman, head of policy and public affairs at the disability charity.  

“Most adjustments businesses need to make are straightforward. For example, disabled people rate friendly and helpful staff and good accessibility as the most important factors when shopping.” As for firms interested in hiring people with disabilities, she highlights that the despite the Access to Work scheme – a fund for specialist equipment, workplace adaptations and transport – 74 per cent of disabled adults feel they have lost out on a job opportunity because of their impairment. 

Gradually, the retail landscape for people with disabilities is improving, says Grossman, citing firms including MS, which has a clothing range for disabled children, and Uber – with its wheelchair accessible vehicles in London – as having taken notice of the purple pound and improved their services. 

But the overall picture remains bleak. Some 75 per cent of disabled people and their families have left a shop or business because of poor customer service, according to Scope’s year-long independent inquiry the Extra Costs Commission. 

Amy Oulton, a disability blogger, says she regularly cannot access shops or toilets because she uses a wheelchair. Oulton says an incident at a basement bar in London, where she walked down four flights of stairs with a stick while her friend carried her chair, was among the most shocking examples of discrimination she has faced. 

amy-oulton.jpg

She was told “people like you just can’t come down here” because the barman was worried about her being trapped in a fire. 

“I didn’t point out that there is one tiny staircase for about 400 people to exit from as I was so shocked,” says Outlon. “He then gave us a free beer to apologise. I felt embarrassed and it was the most awkwardly chugged beer of my life. Then I went home and cried.”

“I would pick a place that was less accessible but with very helpful staff than a place that was more accessible but with rude or unhelpful staff on most occasions. People with disabilities are just normal people, so treat them like that.” 

karen-purple-pound-disabilities.jpg

Karen Dempster, a 29-year-old media and communication student at Kingston University with mobility issues meanwhile hopes that more fashion retailers will follow MS’s lead and latch onto the purple pound. 

“I love clothes and fashion, but shopping is difficult and some clothes I like have buttons or zips that I can’t manage,” says Karen, who wishes other shoppers wouldn’t use the disabled changing rooms as a social space to try on clothes together. “There are lines for petite people, maybe there should be lines for disabled people too?” she argues. 

Addressing the idea that some shop assistants and bosses may fear upsetting those with disabilities, she goes on: “Just ask if you don’t know something. No one is offended if you say you don’t know something and ask. It’s worse if something is clearly bothering someone but they don’t ask. Speak up more. Offering help is welcome, but never grab a wheelchair or manhandle someone.” 

Unless, of course, you’re pressing the flesh to seal the job offer.

wearepurple.org.uk

  • More about:
  • Purple pound
  • Health
  • discrimination
  • Disability
  • Talking points

Reuse content

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/the-purple-pound-how-discrimination-against-disabled-people-costs-businesses-billions-of-pounds-a7131296.html

Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright © 2017 RatChatter All rights reserved.
RatChatter v1.0 theme from BuyNowShop.com.