The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is once again under fire from disabled people. But this time, one disabled people’s group has accused it of ‘selling them out’ to corporations.
13 November is ‘Purple Tuesday’. As its website says, it is:
the UK’s first accessible shopping day, established to recognise the importance and needs of disabled consumers and promote inclusive shopping.
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Purple Tuesday is a call-to-action for all UK retailers… to introduce measures to make the shopping experience more inclusive and accessible for disabled consumers.
We need to improve the disabled customer experience not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes commercial sense to ensure shops, restaurants, pubs and clubs are open to everyone. Estimates put the spending power of disabled people and their families at £249bn.
£249bn? No wonder companies and groups are already promoting Purple Tuesday on Twitter:
— Sainsbury's News (@SainsburysNews) November 9, 2018
— Falkirk Delivers (@FalkirkDelivers) November 12, 2018
Accessibility and inclusivity, of course, are incredibly important. But Purple Tuesday has not impressed campaign group Disability Labour.
A “sell out” of disabled people
Disability Labour co-chair Fran Springfield said in a statement for The Canary:
This is a disgraceful attempt to ‘sell out’ disabled people to commercial entities. Every day should be an accessible shopping day!
Disability Labour are deeply concerned that the DWP, which harasses and persecutes disabled people on a daily basis, will use video footage to identify if claimants are shopping, what they’re purchasing and even how far they are walking.
It’s of little wonder that Disability Labour is suspicious of the DWP’s motives. Because as The Canary previously reported, it has come in for criticism for effectively ‘spying’ on disabled people. Clinical psychologist Dr Jay Watts said in a report about the DWP:
Gym memberships, airport footage, job centres and surveillance video from public buildings are now used to build cases against claimants, with posts from social media used to suggest people are lying about their disabilities.
Meanwhile, co-vice chair of Disability Labour Kathy Bole said:
Sainsbury’s already has form in relation to sharing CCTV footage to spy on disabled benefit claimants. Their surveillance of disabled people has led to increased distress and isolation.
Indeed, as The Canary previously reported, there was uproar when Sainsbury’s revealed it had agreed to hand over CCTV footage to the DWP.
For the above reasons, Disability Labour has called on Labour Party members to boycott shops taking part in Purple Tuesday. And so they should. Because it’s bad enough that the DWP has been cutting disabled people’s benefits left, right and centre. But now, it wants to make out that it cares about their ability to shop on the meagre scraps it gives some of them. Breathtakingly hypocritical capitalism knows no bounds; not least at the DWP.
– Follow Disability Labour on Twitter.
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