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Disabled shoppers 'put off by bad staff attitudes'

Young disabled shoppers reported being put off shopping in the high street by the attitude they encountered from shop staff, a new poll has revealed.

The poll of 500 disabled people found nearly half are being put off shopping on the high street by the attitude they encounter from staff. Credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The small poll of 500 people aged 16 to 30 who suffer from a disability also found that nearly half are put off revisiting local shops because of how staff treat them; some said they felt "invisible" after being ignored by staff who instead address their companions or carers.

The poll was launched as the charity's "Trailblazers", a group of disabled campaigners aged 16 to 30, released a list of top tips for high street businesses on how they could provide better practical support to disabled customers.

Shopping a 'military operation' for many disabled

Young people polled by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign described the stress of a trip into town to buy new clothes requiring the planning and energy of a "military operation."

Teenager Laura Bizzey, from Snape, Suffolk, said that her muscle condition, minicore myopathy, means she "always" encounters problems when out shopping. The 17-year-old said:

As much as I love shopping, sometimes it can feel like a military operation. No matter how much planning I do, there are always problems. Even if I can get into the store, the shop floor can feel like an obstacle course.

I can barely move between the packed clothes rails and steps between levels - meaning some areas of the shop are completely out of bounds.

Even if I have managed to find clothes to try on, nine times out of 10, accessible changing rooms are piled high with boxes. What's the point in having an accessible changing room if no one can use it?

Disabled 'forced to shop online due to lack of access'

Three quarters of disabled young people feel unable to go shopping because of a lack of access around their town centre, a new poll from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign found.

Poor access in and around town centres is putting the vast majority of young disable people off shopping on the high street, the poll found. Credit: Reuters

Seventy five per cent of those polled said they feel confined to shop online because they are unable to get around the town.

'Gap needs to narrow' between Paralympians & disabled

Para-Equestrian gold medalist Sophie Christiansen has said that the UK needs to "narrow the gap" between how it views Paralympians and attitudes towards disabled people in general.

Sophie told ITV News: "I think a year ago at the Paralympics everyone was at an all-time high. perceptions of disability had really changed. I think a tear on perceptions are still changing, they're still positive towards Paralympians and to a certain extend disability.

"I do think a slight negativity is creeping in, in terms of stories in the news about 'benefit scroungers'.

"We really need to narrow that gap between Paralympians and the regular disability community. You can be disabled and not do sport and still do amazing things."


Scope: 'Benefit scrounger' rhetoric damaging attitudes

The disability charity Scope has blamed "'benefit scrounger' rhetoric" for the worsening attitude towards the disabled.

An ITV News poll has shown that more than 80% of disabled people say that attitudes towards them have not improved since the Paralympics:

The starting gun has been fired on the legacy debate.

Changing attitudes is at the heart of legacy. The Paralympics were a break-through moment. Disabled people had never been so visible. Disability had never been talked about so openly. But you don't change society in a fortnight.

Speak to disabled people and the same issue comes up: 'benefit scrounger' rhetoric; the divisive myth that most people on benefits are skivers.

Disabled people say they feel like they've done something wrong, because they need support to do the same things as everyone else.

The Government must stop the scrounger rhetoric once-and-for-all.

The Paralympics has inspired a small number to be more involved in sport or the community.

But ultimately it comes down a simple point: if you don't have the support you need to get up, get washed and get out of the house; if you're struggling to pay the bills - it's a big ask to join a tennis club.

– Alice Maynard, Chair of disability charity Scope

Disabled attitudes 'got worse since the Paralympics'

Almost a year on from the start of London Paralympics, the disability charity Scope is arguing that its legacy "hangs in the balance". A survey carried out for ITV News reveals that nearly a quarter of disabled people believe attitudes towards them have got worse since the Paralympics.

Disabled people are warning that short term improvements in public attitudes, sport and community involvement are being undermined by 'scrounger rhetoric', a crisis in living standards and a squeeze on local care.

In a survey of 1,000 disabled people carried out for ITV News :

  • 80% do not think attitudes towards them have improved in the last twelve months
  • 22% saying that things have actually got worse, and most of them blaming "benefit scrounger" rhetoric
  • 1 in 5 disabled people report they have either experienced hostile or threatening behaviour or even been attacked
  • 100 days after the Paralympics 72% had said that the Paralympics had a positive impact on attitudes towards the disabled in general.

Alf Morris, champion of disability rights, has died

The man who fought to give people with disabilities more rights has died. Alf Morris passed away after a short illness on Sunday. Labour's Leader in the House of Lords, Janet Royall, said:

TUC: Disabled people 'most affected' by Government cuts

The Government will be accused of being "fundamentally dishonest" about its policies towards disabled people today.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber will tell a conference that disabled workers are being hit more than other groups by the coalition's austerity cuts.

He will tell the TUC's Disabled Workers Conference: "No group of people is more affected by the Government's savage, ideological austerity than disabled workers. It's no exaggeration to say that when it comes to disability, there is a fundamental dishonesty about Government policy."

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