Most people in Britain are not able to welcome wheelchair users into their homes due to poor access, according to a new survey.
The YouGov poll, commissioned by Habinteg, follows research that revealed under a quarter (23%) of new homes outside London are planned to be accessible, despite a rapidly ageing population.
Of the 2,014 people in England, Wales and Scotland, just one in five (21%) said a wheelchair user would reasonably be able access all areas of their home.
Over half (69%) of respondents confirmed that such manoeuvrability would not be possible and under a third (31%) felt that wheelchair users would be able to make use of the appliances in their home, including opening fridges and ovens.
Typical reasons why homes are inaccessible include steps into the front door, width of doors into and around the house, and bathrooms that are located upstairs.
Habinteg said this “shocking level” of poor access is having a detrimental impact on the health and quality of life of disabled people and their families.
Commenting on the findings, Sheron Carter, CEO at Habinteg, said: “Habinteg’s founding mission was to ensure that disabled people and non-disabled people can live together as neighbours.
“Today’s poll results show how far we have yet to go as a society. They reinforce what we have known for a long time: the government and local authorities are simply not doing enough for our disabled and older population.
“We are calling on the government to urgently change national policy to ensure all new homes are built to accessible and adaptable standards. This was promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May in July as part of a new consultation, and we now need the new PM to honour that pledge.”
Holly Holder, evidence manager at the Centre for Ageing Better said the evidence lays bare the “shocking state of our homes” when it comes to access for wheelchair users.
“A safe and accessible home is deeply important for all of us. Whilst it’s not inevitable, the likelihood is that most of us will become less physically able as we grow older. And many people have mobility challenges from lifelong conditions or because of an accident,” she said.
“All of us benefit from step free, well designed spaces when we’re handling furniture, heavy shopping or luggage and welcoming visitors with access requirements. All new homes should be built to accessible standards, and people should be given more support to adapt and repair the homes they’re already in.”