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Tech champions to fight for disabled customers' rights

Sarah Newton

Two new disability champions from Barclays and Fujitsu have been appointed by the government to ensure technology and online businesses are not forgetting about their disabled customers.

Using their industry influence, the new champions will remove the obstacles faced by disabled consumers who struggle to purchase products or services online and are often locked out of benefitting from the latest innovations in technology.

Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton, said, “For too long technology and online business have been missing out on the spending power of disabled customers and their families – worth a staggering £249 billion a year. I want tech companies to be a force good, ensuring inclusion is a fundamental component of the design process so that disabled people can benefit from the latest innovations.

“Our new champions will fight for the rights of disabled consumers so they can spend their money where and when they want, just like everyone else.”

The website accessibility champion is Paul Smyth, Barclays’ Head of Digital Accessibility.

Smyth will encourage businesses to champion accessibility in their digital efforts, build better feedback mechanisms for disabled customers to raise concerns and support government to enforce digital accessibility compliance.

The technology champion is Patrick Stephenson, Fujitsu’s Client Managing Director for Central and Local Government.

The assistive technology sector currently contributes £85 million to the economy, and has enriched many disabled people’s lives across the world. But many mainstream businesses are still missing out on disabled people’s custom by failing to design technology with their needs in mind.

The technology and web accessibility champions are two of five new champions announced today to cover the countryside and heritage, products and spaces and brand and design sectors.

They join fourteen existing champions who have already made significant progress in improving accessibility across a diverse range of industries, from insurance to music.

Author
Bethan Grylls

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