Disability organisation Disability Labour has called for a boycott of Purple Tuesday, calling the nationwide event that will be held on 13 November, saying that they “deplore” the event and its connections to the Department of Work and Pensions regarding reports that they use footage from stores to spy on claimants.
The organisation say they are “dismayed” that supermarkets, shopping centres and companies including Argos, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Barclays are taking part in the event that aims to build up a partnership between disabled people – who often feel pushed out of the high street shopping experience – and businesses. Purple Tuesday, which is run by We Are Purple, has been endorsed by the DWP, which the co-chair of Disability Labour Fran Springfield calls “deeply concerning.”
UNITE highlighted the concern of benefits who fear the DWP are spying on them in our October issue, raising the issue of the DWP using CCTV from supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, and from leisure companies like theme parks with a view to prosecuting claimants for benefit fraud. Concerns have also been raised about the DWP checking social media and blogs for evidence of spending patterns which could be used as evidence to have claimants’ benefits stopped. The DWP have strongly denied these allegations, both in statements from spokespeople and by McVey in parliament.
Springfield said: “This is a disgraceful attempt to ‘sell out’ disabled people to commercial entities. Every day should be an accessible shopping day!
“Disability Labour are deeply concerned that the DWP which harasses and persecutes disabled people on a daily basis will use video footage to identify if claimants are shopping, what they’re purchasing and even how far they are walking.”
Co-chair Kathy Bole added: “Sainsbury’s already has form in relation to sharing CCTV footage to spy on disabled benefit claimants. Their surveillance of disabled people has led to increased distress and isolation.”
Disability Labour are calling for a boycott of all businesses taking part in Purple Tuesday, and have reached out to DPAC to support them in this.
We are Purple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from UNITE.
Image: Flickr/Liz Smith