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Minister must resign over comments, says disability group

This news post is over 9 years old

​Lord Freud's controversial comments will "strike fear into the heart" of disabled people, says Inclusion Scotland

A disability charity has joined the chorus demanding that a senior government minister resigns over a comment he made suggesting people with disabilities should be paid less than the minimum wage.

Inclusion Scotland accused Lord Freud of “striking fear” into the hearts of disabled people.

The group said there would be few tears shed if he were to fall on his sword.

Labour has called on the Conservative peer to resign after he said some workers were "not worth the full wage".

We doubt that many disabled people or victims of the bedroom tax will be shedding any tears if he was to go

Lord Freud's comments came during a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference last month 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 said: "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…"

Prime Minister David Cameron distanced himself from the comments, saying they "were not the views of anyone in government".

Lord Freud said he was "profoundly sorry" and supported the minimum wage.

However, his apology was not enough for Inclusion Scotland.

The group’s head of policy Bill Scott said: “This was no back-bencher with little influence talking. This was Lord Freud, the minister given control over welfare reforms affecting disabled people. What he said is going to strike fear into the hearts of all disabled people of working age – both those in work and those seeking employment – because what Lord Freud thinks today tends to become Government policy tomorrow.

“It is not enough for the Prime Minister to claim that these “were not the views of anyone in government”. Quite obviously Lord Freud does hold these views and is in Government. Therefore until Lord Freud leaves his post then the Prime Minister is guilty of misleading Parliament.

“We doubt that many disabled people or victims of the bedroom tax will be shedding any tears if he was to go.”



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Mary O' the Colonies
over 9 years ago
The fact Lord Fraud has not been sacked shows the Prime Minister has no qualms about a member of his Government holding such views.
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Tiiu-Imbi Miller
over 9 years ago
I have been in the position of being "not worth the full wage", for well over a year. I offered to leave, but my generous boss kept me on, at full salary. Had there been an option of paying me a third of my salary that would have been best for me, as I was able to do only about a third of what I should have done. I would have felt less guilty and under less pressure and been happier than knowing I was paid for work I was not doing, even though in my case the government would not have made up the difference. But that option did not exist. The worst option for me would have been to sit at home all day. That really would have got be down, and wrecked any future career prospects too. Few employers can be as generous as mine was. Most would have sacked me. Was my situation really so unique that even talking about it leads to cries for the minister to resign?
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over 6 years ago
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