search

Living with a disability: Accessibility facts and figures

Living with a disability: Accessibility facts and figures
13/04/2018

How much do you really know about accessibility in the UK? While many of us may be aware that the country falls short in many areas when addressing accessibility, most don’t know the actual impact this has on our disabled population. Accessibility falls short because many of us, from the government to the general population, simply lack the motivation to make serious changes. Usually, this is because of a lack of understanding. Without experiencing the everyday struggle of accessibility first hand, most of us don’t feel the urgency to make significant changes.

A recent study by the Papworth Trust looks at disability in the UK and presents some surprising accessibility facts and figures about the lives of our disabled population. Looking at everything from education to housing, the report gives some insight into what it’s like living with a disability in the UK today. If like many of us, you often let accessibility slip to the back of your mind, then these stats might help you start taking accessibility more seriously.

From giving us a sense of purpose to financing everything from food and housing to leisure and entertainment, employment is an important part of our lives and the backbone of our economy. Despite being so integral to our everyday lives, accessible employment is still a long way off from where it should be.

Today’s disabled population is twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people with an unemployment rate of 9% compared to just 3.8%. With disabled people needing to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled jobseekers before finding work it’s no surprise that 9 in 10 disabled people who are not in work are economically inactive and not actively looking for a job. For those that are actively seeking employment, only 51% of disabled applicants can expect to get an interview compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants.

Unemployment on this scale is just as bad for our economy as it is for the lives of our disabled population. While they have less to spend on leisure and entertainment, businesses miss out on the ‘purple pound’. This is the economic value of our disabled population which was estimated at £249 billion last year and looks set to increase along with the number of people living with a disability, but only if we can make improvements and reduce the 45.9% of disabled people who are currently economically inactive. Read our guide to workplace accessibility and find out how you can make simple yet effective changes that could benefit your business as well as help our disabled population.

For the millions in our disabled population who are unable to drive, transportation can be considered a lifeline. While driving is the most popular singular mode of transport with 38% of people with mobility difficulties using this method, being a passenger, walking, bus and other transports are used by the remaining 62%. Trains, buses and taxis provide essential independence to disabled people and enables them to access support, leisure, work and much more. Unfortunately, many of our transportation networks still lack the facilities and aids that disabled people need for their journeys.

In London alone transportation needs to see significant improvements. Although renewed urgency over the past few years has seen the number of accessible Tube stations increase to more than 25% with more than 50% of Overground stations now accessible, there are now cities across the globe aiming for and achieving better accessibility including Washington D.C, which now has a completely accessible metro system.

In the UK as a whole, 75% of trains are now considered accessible to disabled people, but this is a rise of just 5% on the previous year compared to the 7.7% increase of disabled railcards in circulation. As our disabled population grows, significant action will need to be taken to ensure accessibility keeps up. Fortunately, UK buses seem to be leading the way. 94% of them were issued with an accessibility certificate in 2016 and new legislation means equipment such as disabled ramps should be standard issue, while drivers are encouraged to assist disabled people whenever possible.

Getting there is one thing, but what about accessing businesses and services around the country? Many disabled people experience difficulties accessing public, commercial and leisure goods services every day, from the physical environment to accessing information. Just like employment, this can negatively impact for the whole community as well as the economy in general. If our disabled population can’t access services and activities, then local businesses can’t access the increasingly powerful purple pound.

Accessibility barriers are widespread with many disabled people reporting difficulties when shopping (20%), going to the cinema or theatre (15%) and pubs or restaurants (14%). In fact, 72% of disabled adults have experienced at least one barrier when playing sport and 68% when visiting museums. Unsurprisingly, 22% of disabled adults report having little choice over their free time compared to 13% of non-disabled people. Common barriers reported by disabled people include narrow stairs, doors or corridors (44%), inadequate lifts or escalators (23%), difficulty due to a lack of ramps or handrails (22%) and parking problems (21%).

Enquiry Form



More News

New Extra Wide Economy Folding Wheelchair Ramp

New Extra Wide Economy Folding Wheelchair Ramp

The economy folding wheelchair ramp is one of our bestselling products. So it is just logical to develop this range. In the last few months we have i...

Read More
New Product Videos

New Product Videos

Finding the right ramp is an important but sometimes challenging task. Where safety is paramount it’s imperative to find the correct ramp for your nee...

Read More
New Ramp Alert – iRamp

New Ramp Alert – iRamp

We have now introduced the iRamp Folding Wheelchair ramp into our premium wheelchair ramp range. The perfect lightweight and folding wheelchair ramp, ...

Read More

Read More

Read More

List your business

Would you like to register your company on one of the UK's largest and most effective Trade websites?

Are you looking for a reliable and consistent source of enquiries from your industry sector? Would you like to see why Find the Needle clients come back year after year to use our service? If so then feel free to register using the link 'here'.

Register
Office Address: