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Education and Employment

Wheelchair Users in UK Struggle with Inaccessible Offices

A man helping to move down the stairs to a disabled person in a wheelchair

A survey of more than 1,000 workers across the UK has revealed that 27% of offices do not have wheelchair access.

The findings, a YouGov survey from Penketh Group, arrive just months after the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and Scope released a good practice guide for employers to help them achieve equality for disabled people in the workplace. The study also revealed that 30% of 18-24 year olds do not think their office caters for people with varying disabilities, with 34% of workers wanting wheelchair access to be improved in the their workplace.

In December, the BBC reported that data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that disabled employees are paid 12.2% less than their non-disabled peers. Chris Birchall, workplace strategist at Penketh Group, said: “The results from our survey are deeply concerning. They shed more light on the inequality crisis that is apparent in the UK workplace today, especially for people with physical disabilities.

“Businesses need to realise that inclusivity is more than just a box-ticking exercise. If they want to get the best from the workforce, they need to start catering for all employees, regardless of their physical ability and fully understand what they need to do their jobs.”

Referring to the survey results, Gem Turner, disabled blogger and consultant, said: “I am not surprised by this figure and think that it’s probably higher, but so many employees don’t feel able to share adjustments they may need.

There are 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK, according to NHS.

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