A Future That Works

A Future That Works
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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Tory MP Philip Davies says that disabled people should work for less than the minimum wage of £5.93 an hour

The mental health charity Mind dismissed the Shipley MP's comments as ‘‘preposterous’’, Richard Hawkes chief executive of disability charity Scope, said ‘‘This reveals a lot about how we value disabled people – and what we think they have to offer when it comes to work. In fact disabled people can contribute as much to a workplace as anyone else’’. Anne Begg Labour chair of the work and pensions select committee said his remarks were ‘‘outrageous and unacceptable, to suggest that disabled people should be treated as second class citizens is shocking and shows just what a warped world some Tories demonstrate they inhabit’’.


  1. I agree with everything that Mr. Davies is saying.

    I'm 49 years old, have Asperger's syndrome and have never had a job.

    I need to be able to offer an employer something so that he will at least just consider giving me a job; and I reckon that his being able to pay me less than statutory minimum wage might just do it.

    I doubt I would be any worse off than actually being paid a proper wage because of the complex interactions between the various benefits I receive and the amount of money I have to pay to social services for my care. In effect a wages subsidy would be in operation.

    I desperately want to work, and need to work, so that I can fully contribute to, and participate in, society; and strive to become the best person I'm capable of becoming - and the minimum wage legislation is hindering me in my search for employment.

  2. Tory Philip Davies sees the disabled as second-class citizens, Anne Begg is correct when she says his idea is ‘‘utterly outrageous and unacceptable’’, it’s not much of a stretch of the imagination from what this Tory advocates and what was the fascist view and economic solution in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. This is the logic of neo-liberal ideology taken with the logic of neo-conservative imperialist for economic and political control we see the true barbarism of global capitalism.

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  4. Lee,

    I fully understand what you are saying when you argue that you wish to be considered for a job. I am not sure that being able to pay you less than the minimum wage would necessarily lead to you being offered the opportunity to work. I am not sure that the government’s intention is that you will be able to keep your current benefits either if you were fortunate enough to get employment.

    It’s not a subsidy to have a minimum wage, in fact it should be a living wage or we are subsidising exploitative employers through the tax and benefits system. From a capitalist perspective if a company cannot afford to pay a living wage for the work required to produce goods or a service then that company isn’t viable in a capitalist market and the logic of capitalism isn’t viable and certainly shouldn’t be subsidised by state benefits to its workforce giving it an unfair advantage over its competitors paying a living wage.

    Philip Davies isn’t concerned with the ability of the disabled to get employment, his motivation is to cut government expenditure by forcing people with disabilities onto jobseekers allowance which is less generous than the disability benefits and is means tested. You would therefore probably not be entitled to the full jobseekers allowance which is currently £67.50.

    As you are probably aware the government wants to do away with the Disability Living Allowance and reducing Housing Benefits so it’s very difficult to say what you would consider as the correct hourly wage to negotiate with an employer and you would also find that you could be bidding against other disable workers so may be engaged in a downward bidding against each other for employment.

    It’s far better to have legislation that says all employers over a certain size should employ a fixed percentage of disabled workers and that the employer a can claim a rebate on their national insurance contributions for employing disabled workers. This way you get the same rate of pay as an able worker and they won’t feel that you are pricing yourself into a job which leaves them unemployed and therefore living on jobseekers allowance because you can accept a lower rate of pay because of your benefits.

    I suspect allowing the disabled to bid down wage rates will make able workers resentful of people on benefits because they will believe that people with disabilities are undercutting them in the job market. This isn’t going to help the disabled or low paid worker, it’s designed to force down wages and redistribute the surplus value of the goods or services produced from the worker to the employer. Lower wages for the worker equals higher profits for the company this is the other objective of the Conservative/Liberal government.


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