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Disability in the UK- the positives vs the negatives


There’s no two ways about it- Purple Tuesday is a fantastic thing! For those that don’t know, Purple Tuesday is an international date, created last year, to focus on changing the customer experience for people with disabilities.

On 12th November 2019, businesses of all sizes got involved, and many took decisive, practical actions to meet the needs of customers with disabilities.

As we at Bascule have been saying for quite some time, the consumer spending power of people with disabilities and their families is not to be ignored- and is in fact worth around £249 billion and rising by an average of 14% per annum. Worldwide, this is said to equate to a staggering £2.25 trillion. However, less than 10% of businesses have a plan to access this market.

Purple Tuesday is about developing awareness of the value and needs of customers with disabilities- and making the customer experience accessible- two areas that are again, close to Bascule’s heart. To visit the Purple Tuesday website and see the number of businesses that have signed up, is definitely encouraging.

However, earlier last month, research revealed that we may not be making as much progress as we’d like to believe.

The international disability charity, Leonard Cheshire, revealed that in 2018/19 disability hate crime rose by a shocking 22 per cent in the UK. It also reported a 71% rise in online hate crime. Unfortunately, although 5,000 disability hate crimes were reported to the police last year, only six per cent were sent to the Crown Prosecution Service or received a charge or summons.

It appears that society is pulling in two different directions, and although on one hand we appear to be progressing, on the other, there seems to be significant problems at the root of how disability is perceived in our country.

At Bascule, we enable businesses to become more inclusive and much like Purple Tuesday, we illustrate the business benefits of being an accessible organisation. However, our work doesn’t stop there. As a social enterprise, we put the proceeds of our training into schools to help create a better understanding, empathy and awareness of disability for children.

Whilst Purple Tuesday is gaining momentum and is a wonderful day for business to assess their level of accessibility- the other side of the coin must be addressed too.

If hate crime is increasing as widely as it is, we must address the bigger human issues of empathy and understanding and perhaps consider an increase in such things as awareness training in schools.

Yet, despite the workshops for schools being offered free of charge to schools, take up has been poor, school timetables are full with core subjects and the schools do not appear to have time for such important enrichment activities that tackle this degree of misunderstanding. The PSHE association has shown that time for this important subject has fallen 32% in just four years.

At Bascule, we have decided to attempt to address this issue, by reducing the rates of our business training by 20% up until 2020, to encourage more businesses to take up our awareness programmes- in a bid to reach more schools with the free awareness days business training creates.

Hopefully, as more and more businesses recognise the financial benefits of inclusivity- (through campaigns such as Purple Tuesday)- we can use this positive progress to drive home more awareness in schools, allowing us to also combat the negative issues that evidently exist.


For more information on business training- and to learn about how you can create an opportunity for a school of choice to receive disability awareness training CLICK HERE.