Thursday 30 September 2004

It's only money

The new Disability Legislation comes into force tomorrow:
In the biggest shake-up of consumer legislation in a decade, the Disability Discrimination Act, which was passed in 1995, requires every business—from the local shop to restaurants, health clubs, dentists and supermarkets—to become more user-friendly for Britain’s disabled people.
Now it's all very well for businesses to make themselves "disabled-friendly" but only if that's in the company's own interest. It's not a proper function of government to be forcing companies to provide specific facilities for a particular group of customers.

As is so often the case with this sort of thing the proponents of these new laws seem to have no conception of reality:

However, John Mitchell, on behalf of the Broughty Ferry-based Disability Issues Group (DIG), said cost should not be seen as a barrier.
All those years that I spent studying profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and the like were a waste of time for "cost should not be seen as a barrier"!

But there are some recalcitrants who haven't yet seen the light:

“Clearly more needs to be done to convince the minority of the commercial case for making their business accessible. It is interesting that 86% of those surveyed were unaware that disabled people spend about £5 billion annually on goods and services in Scotland.
So there is a "commercial case" for the changes that are being demanded. Not quite, it seems. Those boring folk who still think that costs are real and who don't inhabit Labour's dream world have a different point of view:
“And less than a third felt that making their premises more accessible would have a positive impact on profits.”
Where will this all end? There's a continuous onslaught on those attempting to run businesses, especially those that aren't large enough to cope with all of the red tape. I can't work out whether politicians just don't understand what they are doing to the economy or that they expect to be off enjoying their gold-plated pensions by the time that the sh-t hits the fan.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Stuart Dickson
Dear Verity, 
In a representative democracy the representatives can pretty much do what they like in-between elections, as long as they fulfill their key manifesto commitments and don't break the law. Judgement day comes but once every 4-5 years. 
You imply that you would like to see the electorate have more control over the politicians. So would I. I advocate more direct democracy. But I fear that it would not bring the leap to the right that you fondly imagine. Like Californians, Scots would end up voting for all kinds of (often contradictory) extra regulations. 
The only way to bring about your bizarre world vision is by eliminating the electorate from the equation. Ie: via dictatorship. Now that is truly silly. 
Your impudent little opponent, 

7 October 2004, 18:14:21 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickinson, your silly, little boy ad hominen attacks on me as opposed to rational arguments in defence of your own position are drab, drab. 
As I don't live in Britain, I have no interest, vested or otherwise, in how many votes Mr Howard loses - although I am mildly amused to read that you think I have this much power to sway voters. 
That elected officials believe they are in a position to lecture their masters, the electorate, on how to run their businesses or their lives is sheer impudence.

7 October 2004, 15:21:10 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Darling Verity, Pleasure Giver, 
When I read your outpourings it renews my love of human nature. You are a rare, sparkling gem of humanity. 
You are a wonderful ad for the Conservative Party. Every time you publish you "thoughts" Mr Howard must lose at least 5 votes. 
Keep up the good work.

7 October 2004, 05:30:52 GMT+01:00
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No 'caring and respectful people' have a right to dictate caringness or respectfulness to others. It is not the business of elected officials to appoint themselves sensitivity csars. 
The only people competent to decide whether altering the appearance of their facade and providing a handicapped ramp will recover the cost and contribute to their profits are owners of businesses. As I said before, it is a business decision. A business owner might have a great deal of sympathy for handicapped people (or none; it's not relevant) but their decisions are based on the bottom line: will this make them more or less profitable? Trying to strongarm businesses into becoming TouchyFeely Feelgood & Sons when it is against their best interests is an outrageous abuse of power.

7 October 2004, 00:21:17 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Enforcing building regulations is in no way totalitarian. It is a regular aspect of all liberal democracies. 
Painting all your opponents as being dishonourable, as Verity consistently does, is a classic attribute of both fascists and communists. 
By all means stand up at the ballot box, if you have the guts, and oppose rights for disabled people; but do not slander respectable decisions taken by caring and respectful people. 
My opponents are the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour party. I disagree with all of them, but I do not hold any of them in contempt. 
"Libertarians" on the other hand avoid democratic mechanisms like the ballot box. Therefore they earn far less respect from me.

5 October 2004, 21:57:07 GMT+01:00
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South Park Kenny
Stuart Dickson: 
Every building MUST have a concrete ramp or the owners go to jail!!! 
Business owners should decide if their building gets a ramp for the disabled. 
So which one sounds totalitarian? Hmmm...

5 October 2004, 21:21:43 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

Stuart Dickson
I see that Verity is being her usual sweet, reasonable self. She is a little ray of goodness in the dark and dismal world of evil. 
She likens the act of being nice to disabled people to the totalitarian horrors of the Soviet Union. In fact it is Verity who consistently displays totalitarian tendencies.

4 October 2004, 12:40:56 GMT+01:00
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It is so outrageous that some collectivist gits in government who were elected to serve the electorate are up on their hind legs dictating to businesses how they should attract potential customers. 
It is the right of every business in the world to discriminate against handicapped people if they feel like it. Just as it is the right of every business to discriminate against non-white people, women, gays, redheads or whatever. Most businesses are well able to figure out that banning certain people from the premises will result in a drop in revenues, and they don't do it. This is a business decision they, not politicians, are qualified to take. 
Sounding totally heartless, I might add that spending money to provide access to handicapped people can not only ruin facades and the aesthetics of some buildings and businesses, but, given that most handicapped people are on state benefits, they don't have much disposable income anyway. So the chances are small of recouping the money spent and the degradation of the premises. 
But it's not handicapped people that are at the root of the proposed universal uglification of buildings and businesses. It is the Soviet levelling down.

3 October 2004, 22:13:42 GMT+01:00
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5 Billion!!! I'm impressed - But surely we are stretching the concept of disability here are we not.  
My wife is pregnant - does that count as temporary disability? 
My father wears glasses he is I am sure disabled. 
I wonder what the figure is for those with serious disabilities that require physical alterations to provide acess.

30 September 2004, 17:38:32 GMT+01:00
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David Crookes
Politician's gold-plated pensions are looking slightly iffy. They are funded from future tax revenues, which some are estimating as requiring approximately 6% on income taxes. 
With an economy up the creek, where will those revenues come from? 
I for one am planning my exit from this hopeless nation, along with my capital.

30 September 2004, 17:02:02 GMT+01:00
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Ian Bennett
If there really is a "commercial case for making their business accessible", surely the market will favour those businesses that have done so, while those that have not will fade into oblivion. Or is that too obvious?

30 September 2004, 12:51:55 GMT+01:00