DDA is irrelevant, say SMEs

With only a month left until the final phase of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) comes into force, making it compulsory for all businesses to make their premises and services accessible to people with disabilities, many small firms believe the act is irrelevant.

This is according to a survey carried out on behalf of Lloyds TSB Business, where over half of small businesses said the DDA was largely irrelevant in contrast to just 4% predicting it would have a positive impact.

Under the DDA, from October 2004, “if it is impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use their service, businesses will have to consider making physical changes to their building.” This act, which has hitherto only applied to larger firms, will be extended to include those with fewer than 20 employees.

Stephen Pegge, head of communications for Lloyds TSB Business, believes this is less to do with any opposition to the principle of the act and more about the additional red tape and expense it will bring.

“Our research shows that small firms are not opposed to employing people with disabilities,” says Pegge. “It is the thought of more regulation, alongside the cost of administration and compliance. Many feel that running their own business is hard enough and the DDA only adds to that burden.”

Have your say on the DDA in our online poll to the left of this article. Do you feel the DDA is relevant to your business?

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