Government seeking disability champion for food and drink industry

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Government seeking disability champion for food and drink industry

Related tags: Disability, Restaurant, purple pound

The government is to recruit a disability champion to tackle issues faced by disabled customers in the food and drink industry.

It is seeking a business leader who can use their position to raise awareness of the need to improve access, service and staff training to help restaurants meet the needs of all diners.

The chosen candidate will join the 14 champions already appointed to highlight the issue in sectors such as tourism, banking and music, initially for one year.

Sarah Newton, minister for disabled people, health and work, says the food and drink industry could be missing out on on the ‘Purple Pound’ – the spending power of disabled people and their households – which is worth an estimated £249bn a year.

“There are nearly 14m disabled people living in the UK, and just like everyone else they enjoy going out to eat and drink as a way of socialising with friends,” says Newton.

“But poor access and customer service often mean disabled people might just choose to stay at home instead.”

A 2014 government audit of more than 30,000 businesses found that 40% of restaurants did not have an accessible toilet, and 75% did not cater for those with visual impairments.

In 2015 a survey​ ​of over 2000 disabled people found that 75% had stopped spending money at restaurants and other businesses due to poor service and a lack of disability awareness.

Applications for the government food and drink champion have opened today (3 December), for more information click here. 

Related topics: People

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