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As the nation goes to the polls in today’s General Election, the question of fairness has again been raised by SCOPE in this morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

At the last election, SCOPE surveyed polling stations and found that 69 per cent of polling stations failed a basic access test and were inaccessible to some disabled people. With more than 10 million disabled people in the UK, this is an issue which needs to be addressed by local authorities to ensure that elections are fair for all.

Ensuring accessability to voting for all is not complex, and not costly. Configure, UK’s leading commercial disability access consultancy, made contact with all local authorities earlier this year offering to provide accessability packs for all polling stations but the take up was low.

David Driver, Configure’s legal director, a solicitor, is available today to comment upon the accessability of polling stations for disabled people, and what should have been done to ensure that this General Election is fair.

To arrange, please contact Stefan Kamboj on 020 7939 7939 sk@chelgate.com.

Ends

Notes to editors:

· There are 10 million disabled people in the UK with an estimated buying power of £60 billion.
· Disability does not only mean those who use wheelchairs – this group make up only three per cent of disabled people. Other groups are more numerous, if less well recognised:
o Eight million people are affected by diseases relating to arthritis (source: Arthritis Care).
o 8.7 million have some degree of hearing loss (source: RNID).
o One million people have a learning disability (source: MENCAP).
o Nearly one million people are blind or partially sighted (source: RNIB).
o Over 250,000 people have severe facial disfigurement (source: Changing Faces).
· The Office of Population Census also reveals some interesting facts:
o Almost 70 per cent of disabled adults are 60 or over.
o Currently, 40 per cent of the UK population are aged over 45, the point after which the likelihood of disability begins to increase significantly.
o Over 90 per cent of visually impaired adults are 60 or over.
o Over 360,000 children under 16 have one or more disabilities – this represents three per cent of all children under that age.
· The Disability Discrimination Act has been brought into force in three stages. The final part came into operation in October 2004 obliging businesses to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in order to facilitate equal access to all goods and services.
· Configure Limited is the UK’s leading commercial disability access consultancy providing access audits, auxiliary aids, building adjustments and employee disability equality training. In the last year it has audited 2,500 sites, made over 1,500 building adjustments, supplied 4,000 auxiliary aids and trained over 65,000 people in disability equality.
· More information about Configure can be found on its website: www.configure.co.uk.

For further information please contact the Configure Press Office direct on 020 7939 7980 or configure@chelgate.com.


This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Chelgate in the following categories: Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.