Saturday 13 August 2022
Select a region
Opinion

Do you know the power of the 'Purple Pound'?

Do you know the power of the 'Purple Pound'?

Monday 01 August 2022

Do you know the power of the 'Purple Pound'?

Monday 01 August 2022


With interest rates climbing and day-to-day prices increasing every week, I wonder how many people have been looking at their bank statements, what they are spending money on and where they can make savings?

Perhaps you can make the decision to cut back on eating out, or not buying those new shoes, maybe it’s time to move mobile or insurance provider or make a decision to use another brand or shop somewhere different.

After all, the choice is ours about if we go, where we go, what we use or buy and where from. Perhaps it’s fair to say that in Jersey we sometimes have fewer direct options, but we can always jump online and order something from afar and it will arrive in the next few days … can’t we? Well, in theory, yes... but actually not everybody can!

If you are one of the approximately 15,000 living with a disability or long-term condition in Jersey then the answer is probably maybe, or sometimes if you’re lucky rather than yes. So why is that?

In simple terms it’s because of poor accessibility (both physical and digital) and businesses not being disability aware and confident in their customer services approach. It is said that in the UK only 10% of businesses have a strategy to attract disabled customers.

Jersey’s 2018 Disability Discrimination legislation required all businesses to take positive action in the form of ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure more favourable treatment for people with a disability – whatever that really means! At the moment, the reality is that this has only really been applied to access to premises and businesses have had two years to make adjustments. The pandemic accepted, it is now 2022 and I’m not aware of any organisations that have been brought to task for not making the adjustments needed. It’s fair to note that not every business or building is a problem as there are some very good examples of fantastic practice that need to be applauded but, in other cases, there are very simple things that could be done, for instance, even just having a few accessible shopping trolleys would help.

ACCORDING TO STATISTICS, 75% OF DISABLED PEOPLE HAVE LEFT A STORE OR WEBSITE DUE TO INACCESSIBILITY.

A couple of months ago, one of our clients, who is a wheelchair user, was interviewed by Channel ITV regarding access to St. Helier and the island in general. I wanted to weep when I heard him suggest he was sorry and felt ashamed for having to ask for help to access a shop. He later told me there was a specific shop he would love to look around but couldn’t, instead being stuck outside looking through the window like a child outside a sweet shop as there was no ramp to get up the one step into the shop.

The purple pound

Pictured: Three quarters of disabled people have left a store or website due to inaccessibility. 

A few weeks ago, I actually went to see the shop’s manager and had a really helpful and sensible conversation about why this was the case and, importantly, how we could help them to remedy the situation?

The answer I got was mixed.

I was impressed that it had been thought about, the suggestion being a wheelchair height wireless doorbell and a £150 aluminium ramp that could be brought out when needed. Not a permanent or most ideal solution, but it’s a reasonable adjustment for an old building. The other part of the Manager’s answer was more difficult to hear, the owner simply doesn’t want to spend the money and doesn’t see it as important! I pointed out this simply wasn’t an acceptable answer and I felt for the Manager as he totally agreed and vowed to change the situation when and if he could. 

So what’s the answer when we get poor service or have a bad experience? If we’re generous, or if it wasn’t a total catastrophe, we might put it down to one of those things and give it another go. Maybe it’s only if it happens again that we will change where we go, what we do or where we buy from. The difficulty for people living with a disability is that their choices and options about where they can go are much more limited so they either have to put up with it or go without.

Perhaps the best answer is to raise awareness of what businesses are actually missing out on.

The_Purple_Pound_Infographic.jpg

Pictured: The Purple Pound refers to the spending power of disabled households.

In the UK there are 14 million disabled people with a spending power of £249 billion. We don’t know the financial power of the disabled population in Jersey but, given it makes up approximately 15% of our island population, it is likely to be significant.

THERE ARE 12 MILLION DISABLED PEOPLE IN THE UK WITH A SPENDING POWER OF 249 BILLION POUND A YEAR, SURELY THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PURPLE POUND?

We need to understand and actively promote the not insignificant impact and benefit of what we call the ‘Purple Pound’. The purple pound refers to the spending power of disabled households in the UK and globally. A disabled household being seen as a household in which at least one of the members has a disability. 

In the UK businesses are seen to lose £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people and 73% of potential disabled customers experience barriers on more than a quarter of websites they visit, despite the online spending power of disabled people estimated at over £16 billion. Ultimately, the purple pound isn’t just about money, but also about community reputation, inclusivity, equality and diversity.

05CB5019-1F05-4CB8-98B9-4A8BB9F21111.jpeg

Pictured: Enable Jersey's mission is to create sustainable solutions for the benefit of everyone.

Our mission is to transform thinking, change the conversation and support businesses and disabled people by creating sustainable solutions for the benefit of everyone.

We hope that working together to raise awareness of the purple pound will be a catalyst for change and create opportunities that will transform futures by bringing together disabled people and business for a single purpose. 

How good would it be if we could get different organisations, groups, businesses and venues to make a public commitment to ensure sustainable changes are made and products and services are opened up and made available to all. 

THE PURPLE POUND ISN’T JUST ABOUT MONEY, IT IS ABOUT INCLUSIVITY, EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY.

READ MORE...

This column first appeared in Connect Magazine, which you can read in full HERE... And sign up to our free daily news email here for exclusive first access to the next edition.

Sign up to newsletter

 

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?