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An essential part of life and one able-bodied people take for granted. Shops are one of the key areas now covered by disability discrimination laws.

The law asks business owners to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities.

This can mean anything from temporary ramps at the door to wider changing rooms, through to ensuring someone does not have to stand while queuing.

It could mean offering appointments for customers needing more time, so that a member of staff can devote the time to their needs.

It could mean larger or clearer signage not least on small print notices at the cash till or seeking professional advice about how lighting and colour can affect the partially-sighted.

The most important change for shops is cultural. No longer can an owner impose a blanket ban on disabled people because they may be a "fire risk". If they have not assessed the actual risk, and looked at how they would evacuate a disabled person, then that's grounds for discrimination.

Shop owners who have thought about what works, and are prepared to seek advice, may find the adjustments to be quite simple and in the long term to their profit.

80% of city centres posed significant problems
25% of businesses surveyed rated poor
A third of public toilets inaccessible
Barriers add an average of two hours to shopping trip
Source: DRC/NOP survey


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