Thursday, October 16, 2014

Inclusion charity joins calls for Freud to resign in disability row

Inclusion Scotland has joined the growing demand for a senior government minister to resign over grossly demeaning comments about disabled workers.

A petition has been established on calling on the government to remove him from office, established by disabled campaigner Ian Jones of the WoW (War on Welfare) campaign network, which Ekklesia collaborates with.

In a comment recorded at a fringe meeting connected to the recent Conservative Party Conference, Lord Freud suggested that people with disabilities should be paid less than the minimum wage - perhaps as low as £2 an hour.

The minister has been accused of “striking fear” into the hearts of disabled people, not just through his words but through a series of policies which target sick and disabled persons.

The Conservative peer, who leads on welfare and disability for the government, from an unelected position in the House of Lords, said some workers with disabilities were "not worth the full wage".

When he was asked whether it was preferable for someone with a disability, who could not get a job, to be paid less than the minimum wage – and to have their income topped up with benefits – in order to give them the experience of work and boost their self esteem, he replied: "There is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they're not worth the full wage and actually I'm going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it's working can we actually…"