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LABOUR’S EMILY BROTHERS SUPPORTS SMALL BUSINESSES IN SUTTON AND CALLS FOR BETTER DISABILITY ACCESS
SATURDAY 6 DECEMBER 2014
 

 

Photo – Emily Outside Greenshaw High School


Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers has acknowledged the contribution of small firms in Sutton and Cheam as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday being held today - 6 December 2014. In conjunction with this campaign, Ms Brothers has called for improved access to local shops for disabled people.
Small Business Saturday is a grass-roots campaign that encourages people to shop locally and support small businesses in the local community. Last year it was the biggest celebration of small businesses in the UK, giving an extra boost of nearly £500M in trade to small retailers. This year’s campaign also aims to give a long-term boost to trade and give a lift to high streets. That why Emily Brothers is encouraging local people to shop locally with small firms as part of Small Business Saturday. She said:
“It is so important that we support our small and independent businesses. They are a vital part of our local economy and local community and we need to get behind them. They matter to our town, add character and are a source of local jobs.
“I’m pleased to be supporting Small Business Saturday this year. The national campaign last year was a terrific success with many areas benefitting and I think we can take advantage in areas like Belmont, Cheam, Sutton and Worcester Park.
“So many local businesses are doing a fantastic job. They give us greater choice and that something a little bit special. We all need to put our hands in our pockets to back our local businesses, even in these difficult times when hardworking families are finding it tough.”

Whilst celebrating the contribution being made by small businesses, Ms Brothers has expressed concern about poor access to shopping for disabled people. A Government report published today by Disabled Go found that a fifth of shops had no wheelchair access, only 15% of restaurants and shops had hearing loops and three quarters of restaurants did not cater for those with visual impairments by providing large print or Braille menus. Responding to the report’s findings, Emily Brothers said:
“From my own personal experience of disability, I know only too well how challenging it can be to shop independently. Due to my visual impairment I regularly get help from some tremendous shop Assistants, but there are others who lack awareness and fail to provide a good customer experience.
“I also have a hearing impairment which makes communication even more difficult sometimes, especially as most shops don’t have an Induction Loop at counters.
“Cafes, pubs and restaurants can be very noisy, poorly colour contrasted with inadequate space which makes it difficult to get to your table and often don’t have an accessible toilet.
“There are 12 million disabled people in Britain with an estimated spending power of £200BN, including their families. That’s a powerful business case for getting disability access right.
“Not all adjustments need to be expensive, yet many adjustments would make a real difference for so many customers. The Tory-led Government and Lib Dem Sutton Council should provide support to small businesses, to make their premises and services more accessible. Improvements would increase retail footfall – reasonable adjustments that would bring about a healthy return for small businesses in Sutton and Cheam.”
Shadow minister for disabled people, Kate Green MP who recently visited Sutton, said the recent audit of 3,000 businesses across the country makes for “depressing” reading.
“While businesses work hard to ensure their premises are accessible, some high street names are failing to make the reasonable adjustments they’re required to do by law.
“While it’s welcome the Department for Work and Pensions have commissioned this report, this Tory-led government has weakened the Equality and Human Rights Commission that helps enforce disability discrimination law.
“Ministers must say what they are going to do to ensure business meets its obligations to disabled people, especially what help they will give small local businesses.”
For more on Small Business Saturday see https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/
For more on access for disabled people see http://www.disabledgo.com/

 

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