On Global Accessibility Awareness Day and in the lead up to the European elections Aspire, a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, is calling for all UK political parties to commit to supporting the European Accessibility Act.

Accessible products empower disabled people to live independently.  Without them, disabled people are cut off from accessing even basic goods and services at a time when more and more services are moving online.  These include essential government services such as renewing vehicle excise duty and welfare benefits claims. 

In recent years, the European Union has been discussing the prospect of a European Accessibility Act but progress on this has stalled.  Such an Act would benefit disabled people as companies would be required to incorporate accessibility and the needs of disabled people at the early stages of product development.

Aspire’s Assistive Technology Programme delivers a programme of volunteer-led assistive computer technology assessments and training at Spinal Injury Centres across the UK.  The specialist equipment means that anyone, regardless of the level of their injury, can independently use a computer.  

Andrew Kell, Aspire’s Assistive Technology Manager, comments: “The needs of disabled people are always an afterthought in product design.  The main problem is that devices such as tablets and smart phone devices have not had a focus on accessibility from the start.  This means that disabled people are socially and economically excluded as new developments emerge.”

Aspire’s Call to Action

For European Politicians: Aspire calls for all UK political parties to commit to lobby and progress the European Accessibility Act. There is positive will at the European Union for this cause. MEPs and candidates are welcome to see the work that Aspire does around Assistive Technology and experience the difference it makes to people’s lives on a day to day basis.

For the public: We call on people around the United Kingdom and Europe to make the most of any contact they have with candidates and Members of European Parliament and ask them for their support for this worthy cause.

Aspire has provided template letters for people to use to write to their MPs, available at http://aspirecampaigns.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/contact-your-meps-and-candidates-about.html