Paying for disabled access
What a lot of hypocrisy there is and the usual predictable howls of outrage at the slow progress in implementing this law. These same people dislike paying extra taxes or higher prices for goods or services, but of course they always think that “someone else” will be paying.
I don’t know the proportion of wheelchair users in France but in the UK it is between 1.5-2%. Is it really sensible to make every building open to the public accessible for wheelchair users? Every installation costs money and some will never be used.
There is a sound argument to ensure that all public transport is accessible for wheelchair users and all well-visited public buildings, but why every shop? That should be a private decision for the shop or business owner.
Those that don’t provide wheelchair access presumably don’t want or need the extra custom, while others will spot the market opportunity and install them.
In the UK there is a law requiring every new build house to have wheelchair access, and any downstairs toilet wide enough for wheelchair access. These are private houses and the buyers should surely be allowed to build to meet their own needs.
Some may voluntarily opt for these more expensive add-ons, thinking in terms of having more options when they eventually sell, but it should be a choice not a compulsion. I wonder what the public response would be if a collection box were set up at the entrance to every building asking for donations to cover the cost of adapting the building for wheelchair access. Would progress have been any faster than the current rate? I doubt it.
Jos HAYNES, Normandy
OUR mairie here in St Louis (Aude) is on the first floor with no way of making disabled access. Other than move it (admittedly, it is only two rooms), there is no way they could enable access. It is a very poor community, so without government aid, the latter option is not possible.
Peter WHITFIELD, by email