logoLord Freud made the remarks during a fringe meeting about welfare changes at the Conservative Party conference.

In response Liz Sayce, CEO of Disability Rights UK said:

“We face a crisis of disabled people’s poverty. Disabled people are:

  • Twice as likely to live in poverty as everyone else
  • More likely to be working in low-paid jobs (when working at all)
  • Young disabled people are twice as likely to be not in work, education or training even than other young people

So the very last thing we need is public statements suggesting disabled people could work for less than the minimum wage. This would just make poverty even more horrendous. We need from government a strategy to enable far more disabled people to get decent employment opportunities – starting with a rock-solid commitment to the minimum wage.

Government also needs a decent disability employment strategy – replacing the Work Programme, which is not working for disabled people, with support based on evidence that takes account of different people’s individual needs and puts choice and control in the hands of individuals and employers.”

We called on Lord Freud to withdraw the suggestion that some disabled people could work for less than the minimum wage. We are glad that he has ap;ogised but are concerned that, despite this, there are still people who support this viewpoint, such as Mr Scott, a councillor in Kent, who defended Lord Freud’s response, saying there were examples where the minimum wage “precludes a small number of physically or mentally disabled from working”.

Note: Disability Rights UK’s report ‘Taking Control of Employment Support‘ argues that the government’s huge Work Programme is failing disabled people and is very poor value for money. We want disabled people to have a greater say over their employment support and to decide how the money available is spent. Disabled people deserve real job

– See more at: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2014/october/our-response-paying-disabled-people-less-work#sthash.t0yNJCsh.dpuf