Thursday, 25 February 2010

Disabled Parking at Supermarkets

A long time ago, I decided that I really could not be bothered with going to the Supermarket. I was fed up with the rude people who rush around as if the place is their own, the staff who cannot answer the most simple of questions and I absolutely hated the queues! I now choose to do all my shopping online - be it my groceries or my luxury items!

So you can imagine my pleasure when listening to a BBC news report recently on Supermarket parking, that I discovered that I was one of the lucky ones that did not have to worry about parking but once my initial self-satisfaction subsided I took a longer look at the issue and discovered that I was actually quite irate at the current practices operating within our major Supermarkets.

The BBC identified that the four major chains all impose parking limits on their customers in most of their Supermarket car parks. A survey by the BBC revealed that 124 large Supermarkets from the big four do not allow extra parking time for their disabled customers. It also revealed that the big four are opting more to use private firms to enforce their parking rules meaning that disabled customers are becoming increasingly easy targets for these overly-keen patrols. By not allowing extra time for their disabled customers, all of the big four supermarkets are breaking the current disability discrimination laws.

Neil Coyle, from the charity Disability Alliance, told the BBC “Supermarkets need to acknowledge there is a problem, and secondly, very quickly they need to ensure their car parking procedures conform with the law”. He also added that the supermarkets need to end the “unfair charges” or “they can wait until someone takes a legal case and potentially face a considerable compensation case”.

I know many drivers already feel that they are an easy cash-cow for raising revenue but for the Supermarkets to sit back and allow this outrageous practice to continue is unacceptable. They must ensure their parking controls conform with the law and make reasonable adjustment for their disabled customers.

After all, these disabled customers are only there to buy the products they sell!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Baroness Grey-Thompson

My hearty congratulations and a big round of applause must go to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson on the announcement of her peerage to the House of Lords.

Baroness Grey-Thompson will put her considerable skills and intellect to the areas of sport, disability and youth.

On her appointment Baroness Grey-Thompson said “I feel incredibly honoured to have been considered for this, and to have been accepted into the House of Lords. I went through great nerves as an athlete, but I’ve had sleepless nights about my first speech there,”

By her last Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, Baroness Grey-Thompson had amassed 16medals (11 gold, four silver and a bronze) and 13 World Championship medals (six gold, five silver and two bronze) - certainly an inspiration to us all!

Baroness Grey-Thompson is a non-executive director for UK Athletics, sits on the board of the London Marathon and the Board of Transport for London (2008). She is also Chair of the Womens Sports and Fitness Foundation Commission on the Future of Womens Sport. She is also patron of a number of charities and is vice-chairman of the Laureus World Sport Academy, a trustee of the Sport for Good Foundation, a Council Member for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and a UNICEF International Inspiration Ambassador.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Out of recession - I don't think so.............

January saw us mark the end of the recession – the longest economic downturn on record.

Whilst our Government will surely be patting itself on the back and thanking their lucky stars that we stayed out of depression, I and many others will have little faith in this news. We would be wise to remember that during this recession we have seen the economy reduced by over 6 percent and unemployment rise to 7.8 percent.

I do believe that this may be a temporary step forward. We have to remember that the figures used are for the last financial quarter which includes increased employment of temporary Christmas staff, increased purchases of luxury goods before the VAT rise took effect, the car scrapage scheme coming to an end and people spending slightly more in order to enjoy the festive season.

In April we may well see a step backwards as we see taxes rise as income tax and national insurance rise. As inflation rears its ugly head we may also see an increase in interest rates.

As I write I can see little is being done to stimulate the economy for growth and I do not see a sustainable economic strategy. We are unprepared to take full advantage of the small GDP figures and should not confuse the end of a recession with a start of growth.

We are a long way from seeing real evidence of our recovery and ordinary folk will see little evidence of the end of the recession in their everyday lives.