High street chains exposed on trip out with disabled person shopping with Will, who was paralysed in a terror attack, and witness the problems disabled shoppers face.
A charity has warned that disabled people are being let down by high street retailers – and Sky News witnessed the problems they face first-hand during a shopping trip with a terror attack victim.
A survey by Scope revealed that three quarters of disabled people and their families had left a shop or business because it did not properly cater for them.
This is despite it being a legal requirement that reasonable adjustments are made to premises to make them accessible for disabled shoppers.
The charity estimates that businesses could be missing out on a share of £60m a day because their shops or websites are not accessible.
Scope’s James Taylor said disabled people had reported a range of issues including a lack of ramps, shops having no hearing loops and “attitudinal problems from staff”.
He said: “At Scope we do think this is a big issue that’s impacting on disabled people being able to take part in the community, go to the shops, buy their Christmas presents, go out at night, but also it’s impacting on businesses as well.”
Sky News went shopping on London’s Tottenham Court Road with Will Pike, who was paralysed after he fell 60ft fleeing terrorists in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Last year he filmed his own video on the same street called ‘Yes I Can’ to highlight the difficulties he faces going out.
We visited a Pret a Manger cafe where the disabled access ramp was too steep and a Caffe Nero outlet which did not have a bell for disabled people to alert staff or a ramp that was fit for purpose.
In a Waterstone’s store, stock was so closely packed together in part of the shop that Will could not avoid knocking over merchandise with his wheelchair.
“This is precisely the reason that guys in wheelchairs, girls in wheelchairs, will avoid the high street at Christmas,” Will said.
“It takes a lot of confidence in general to leave the house, to embrace the day, to get involved with stuff, so at a peak shopping time like Christmas it ramps it up.
“It doesn’t seem to be that disability, or inclusivity or accessibility, whatever you want to call it, is high on anyone’s agenda.”