Thursday, October 16, 2014

Freud, disabled workers, and the minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage is not a living wage, it’s a poverty wage.Yet the Minister in charge of welfare reform, Lord Freud, has suggested that disabled people’s labour is not even worth this much. He has now apologised, but for many disabled people his remarks simply confirm their suspicions of how the government really thinks about them.

Employment Minister Esther McVey dismissed Lord Freud’s remarks as an aberration, not representative of her party’s thinking. Perhaps she had forgotten the words of her own flatmate, Philip Davies MP, who in Parliament in 2011 quite emphatically said that disabled people should be ‘allowed’ to work for less than the minimum wage, "Given that some of those people with a learning disability by definition clearly can’t be as productive as somebody who hasn’t got a disability." You can see a video of him saying this here.

Many disabled people will also remember Iain Duncan Smith saying in 2012 that Remploy workers were, not doing any work... just making cups of coffee”.