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Welfare reform minister Lord Freud told a Conservative fringe conference on 30 September that some disabled people are ‘not worth the full [minimum] wage’ and that he would think about a way that they could ‘work for £2 an hour’ if they want to.

The full transcript of the remarks were released by the Labour party today and were the subject of a heated exchange between David Cameron and Ed Miliband at prime minister’s question time.

Freud was responding to a question from a Conservative councillor, David Scott, who told him:

"The other area I’m really concerned about is obviously the disabled. I have a number of mentally damaged individuals, who to be quite frank aren’t worth the minimum wage, but want to work. And we have been trying to support them in work, but you can’t find people who are willing to pay the minimum wage.”

Freud replied:

And then you make a really good point about the disabled. Now I had not thought through, and we have not got a system for, you know, kind of going below the minimum wage. But we do have… You know, Universal Credit is really useful for people with the fluctuating conditions who can do some work - go up and down - because they can earn and get...and get, you know, bolstered through Universal Credit, and they can move that amount up and down. Now, there is a small…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…”

David Cameron has denied that these are the views of the government and, in an apparent reference to his late disabled son Ivan, angrily told Miliband:

“Let me tell you, I don’t need lectures from anyone about looking after disabled people. So I don’t want to hear any more of that.”

Lord Freud has yet to comment.

Read more on this story at the Guardian and at the BBC

Comments  

#18 Drizzle 2014-10-18 13:10
Yes, you're right that the voting situation is slightly more nuanced, Tintack. Vote for whichever left of centre party will keep the Tories and UKIP out in your area.

The potential loss of the Human Rights Act is another of the Tories' very scary pledges, along with pre-payment cards for benefit recipients.
#17 tintack 2014-10-18 00:03
Quoting Drizzle:
Reading the article Paul Richards links to below leads me to believe that the Tories are seriously considering forcing the disabled who can't find jobs into working for below the minimum wage.


The other concern is that if they can get away with that for disabled people, they'll almost certainly extend it to everyone else. They were opposed to the minimum wage from the start, and I'm sure at least some of them haven't changed their views.

Quote:
All of us disabled and our families and friends MUST vote for Labour at the general election. You may have no faith in them, but they are the best of a bad bunch and the only credible alternative we have to another Tory government (which is going to spell disaster to those of us on benefits). UKIP are another right wing party masquerading as the people's party and, I'm sure, will be happy to get into bed with the Tories given half a chance. They won't do us any favours. The Libdems have shown us that they're not on our side.

Even if you hate Labour, at least a vote for them is a guaranteed vote against the Tories. We need to concentrate on keeping them out AT ALL COSTS.
I agree that it's imperative to get the Tories out next year. In many constituencies that will mean voting Labour, though in some it will mean voting for other parties - whoever has the best chance of stopping the Tories in each seat (unless it's UKIP of course, which is a party of Tories-on-stero ids). Even a Lib Dem MP would be better than a Tory. Free of the coalition, at least some Lib Dems will remember that they're supposed to be a left-of-centre party.

If the Tories get back in after all the benefit cuts and huge rise in the number of people relying on food banks, they'll assume they can get away with anything, and the really frightening thing is, they'd be right. The Human Rights Act would be one of the first things to go.
+1 #16 Drizzle 2014-10-17 12:33
Reading the article Paul Richards links to below leads me to believe that the Tories are seriously considering forcing the disabled who can't find jobs into working for below the minimum wage. For example, a Tory MP said yesterday:

"Anyone who denies that the minimum wage is a barrier to employment for the less able is living in cloud cuckoo land."

and Lord Freud still has his job at the DWP, despite the Conservatives denying that his comments reflect their policies.

Nick Clegg has even said:

"That shouldn't stop any of us having a discussion and, frankly, a difficult discussion - because some of these issues are difficult - to get more people with disabilities and with other disadvantages in life into the workplace."

The only politicians protesting loudly at these types of views are Labour.

All of us disabled and our families and friends MUST vote for Labour at the general election. You may have no faith in them, but they are the best of a bad bunch and the only credible alternative we have to another Tory government (which is going to spell disaster to those of us on benefits). UKIP are another right wing party masquerading as the people's party and, I'm sure, will be happy to get into bed with the Tories given half a chance. They won't do us any favours. The Libdems have shown us that they're not on our side.

Even if you hate Labour, at least a vote for them is a guaranteed vote against the Tories. We need to concentrate on keeping them out AT ALL COSTS.
+1 #15 Paul Richards 2014-10-16 23:29
Hi all,
Just to confirm - there was a mistake on my link to the article:
Please go to: http://www.talktalk.co.uk/news/uk/article/freud-urged-to-explain-wage-comment/146605/

This makes interesting reading. Not least, Ed Miliband's and Labour's 'newly found interest in disabled people's issues', as well as Nick Clegg's pandering - just like a small poodle, to his master's, namely PM Cameron's, continuing wishes to support his friend, Lord Freud!
#14 Paul Richards 2014-10-16 23:17
Hi all,
Whoops - sorry, there should be a / at the end of the last article link!
i.e: /146605/
#13 Paul Richards 2014-10-16 22:02
Hi all,
Interesting article today:

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/news/uk/article/freud-urged-to-explain-wage-comment/146605/

It makes good reading - not least - Labour and Ed Miliband (with their newly found interest in disabled people's issues) and Nick Clegg - as always, pandering, like a small foot-licking poodle to his master: of course, PM Cameron!
+1 #12 tintack 2014-10-16 21:13
Quoting Lone warrior:
Every time the Tories open their mouths its to blame welfare


More specifically, it's to blame personal welfare. Corporate welfare, on the other hand, is another matter - they're happy to throw that around like confetti even as they claim personal welfare cuts have to be done in the name of austerity. We were told that rail privatisation would lead to a more efficient service, with the taxpayer no longer having to subsidise an inefficient publicly owned system. And yet, the rail companies are still given billions of public money every year. Osborne happily writes off huge sums of tax owed by companies like Vodafone and large corporations. And of course there's also the scandal of how the likes of Atos, Capita, Serco and G4S continue to win lucrative government contracts despite building up a track record of incompetence, dishonesty or both.

Take an axe to corporate welfare and personal welfare wouldn't have to be slashed. But those on personal welfare don't have wealth or power, whereas recipients of corporate welfare do, so it's not likely to happen.
+2 #11 Lone warrior 2014-10-16 10:44
Cameron has used disabled members of his family at Conference speeches
Yes he does need to be lectured. lectured on Social inclusion for disabled people.
Lectured on the fact that disabled people are not millionaires, are not the cause of this country's financial woes, and have the right to be socially included in society.
Lectured on the fact that he claimed benefit for his son regardless of the fact both he and his wife are millionaires. Claimed because in his own words It was a universal benefit so we claimed it.
Now his party persecutes anyone with a long term illness or disability, every aspect of the so called reform means cuts.
we are blamed for the inability of government to stop borrowing, and if he placed as much emphasis on tax avoidance, then this country would not have to borrow, but the fact is that we the disabled do not have as much power as the Global multinationals, we are easy targets, we are the most vulnerable , so we can be persecuted, not he multi nationals.
If he had placed as much emphasis on re balancing the economy, we would now be , well on our way to a sustainable economy.
Every time the Tories open their mouths its to blame welfare, to return us to the dark days of social exclusion. where we have to hide away, or sell matches to live.
We are in the grip of persecution , not reform, exclusion, not inclusion, starvation , and deprivation.
it was hard enough under the old system to get help, but under these so called reforms it will be nigh on impossible.
What next? WILL ALL DISABLED CHILDREN BE TERMINATED AT BIRTH. because of the drain on our economy!
will we return to abject poverty, just because of the tory crusade.
Go after Amazon , Google and the like , who truly are parasites.
Not us , who cannot help our conditions.
As for the lord, to be a member of the house is a privilege he should not have.
#10 Blackcat 2014-10-15 22:06
I want the noble Lord to do a spot of gardening for me to take his mind off things. Please could he lay a path with paving slabs. I will leave it to him to work out how many yards of sand he will need to make the base and how many shovelfuls there are in a yard of sand.I am not sure he is up for working on the shovel commercially,ha s this gentleman ever done ANY proletarian toil, and if so what?, and was he worth the money? :-* Esther Mcvey is in the construction business,she put the roof on a house so that when it rained nobody got wet. :-*
+1 #9 Paul Richards 2014-10-15 20:58
What an utterly disgraceful thing to say by this 'Lord' Freud (another privileged ex-banker) in his very well paid position looking down upon all the sick and disabled of Britain.
Tonight it is being said on the rounds that he looks set to 'stay in his job' - what an absolute travesty. He should at least resign his position, (but he wont do that as he is probably receiving a fortune)
Councillor Scott should equally be ashamed of himself - by what they both said, we now know exactly how they think and they meant what they said, otherwise they would not have said it!
And, yes, the Adam Smith chap has been defending them too.
I bet that neither of them would even consider working for £2 an hour. If Freud is the 'Welfare Reform Minister' then I wonder just how much he has also been 'advising' IDS & Cameron.
Seemingly from his past track record, I personally would not allow him to advise upon running a block of Public Toilets.
Let's hope that this starts a debate that will at last uncover the disgusting treatment of so many of Britain's disabled, sick, poor and low paid.
+1 #8 tintack 2014-10-15 20:36
Lord Freud has issued an unreserved apology.

"I would like to say how deeply, truly sorry I am that I was caught out. It was not my intention for that to happen, and you can rest assured that I am absolutely determined not to be caught out again. Lessons have been learned, in particular the lesson that I should not say what I really think in public."

The Prime Minister welcomed the apology as proof that Lord Freud "is a man of integrity who cares greatly about disabled people."
+3 #7 micksville 2014-10-15 18:09
Didnt we used to have a state subsidised system called remploy? Wasnt that scrapped for being unprofitable? We can now see why. They wish to enrich their chums and donors by giving them very, very cheap labour in the guise of ' doing the disabled a favour'
Spokesperson from the Adam Smith Institute has been all over bbc all day, trying to defend Lord Fraud saying labours' ambush lacks context . However, even with the full context of his remarks it isnt much better. Those of us who didnt already know what these vicious people thought of disabled and sick people behind closed doors certainly do so now.
#6 stuart52 2014-10-15 17:31
his remarks were utterly disgusting, it really proves if proof were ever needed what the government really think of the disabled, he foolishly made public his view that privately I feel are the views of the rest of the ministers, at the very least he should resign but his cronies will protect him,
+5 #5 Seth Laa 2014-10-15 17:18
Why bother sacking LARD Freud, he will only get replaced by someone equally as vicious and disrespectful.
+7 #4 Blackcat 2014-10-15 16:20
Please could we all stop being angry at Lord Freud, but be angry with his condition.

Please could somebody explain in words I can understand why Lord Freud promoted share issues which ran into bother. What about his relationship with Euro-Tunnel and Euro-Disney. Did Lord Freud advise Robert Maxwell about pensions or was it the other way round?. Could somebody cast some light on Prof Peter Beresford comments about Lord Freud and his policies.
What does he actually know about the 'Mechanics' and 'Organics' of disability,and has he been CRB checked?If so at what level. Labour put him in at first,and now he has ended up with the Tories. Somebody has some explaining to do. :oops:
+6 #3 justanotherday2 2014-10-15 15:46
Actually reading that, it sounds as if it is Councillor Scott who ought to be apologising for using such inflamatory terms towards the disabled: how dare he even suggest someone is "quite frankly not worth" the NMW?! And Lord Freud was silly and misguided to even entertain the question and air his thoughts aloud. That said, these Ministers are setiing the policy, so it is interesting to hear what they really think they'd like to achieve, albeit they thought it was behind closed doors: £2 an hour is slavery, in anyone's language, even if they would "quite like to do it"!
+8 #2 angela 2014-10-15 15:30
Cameron says he don't need lectures about looking after the disabled so I don't want to hear any more of that that's just about right he doesn't want to hear any thing concerning the disabled as he knows his government is failing them
+8 #1 timmyjohnanners 2014-10-15 15:23
Both the lord and Mr Scott should go ....NOW. My opinion..... all LORDS should be culled! they do not deserve there privilidge when they say things like this.....

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