I was absolutely horrified by the reprehensible comments made by Lord Freud regarding disabled workers not being worth the full rate of pay. It was unforgivable.
How on earth do comments like that help disabled people who are looking for work and who already suffer low self-esteem? And what about the many applicants like myself who experience major barriers to employment, including unspoken discrimination in the recruitment process?
Since the coalition came to power it has cut schemes left, right and centre to help disabled people into work, made plans to privatise Remploy, made disabled people jump through hoops with Atos and caused them untold stress for benefits assessment.
What is rather ironic is that David Cameron states that Freud’s views are not the views of the government. Really?
Given the way disabled people have been treated since 2010, I would question that.
And to add insult to injury Freud said that he cares deeply about disabled people. It’s time for him to resign from his ivory tower.
As a school which specialises in the care and education of boys who require additional support for learning we were deeply disappointed by the comments from Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud, that some disabled people are “not worth” the minimum wage.
We undertake a number of work placement programmes, working with local companies and have more recently have established our own programmes to give young people experience of the world of work.
The rewards of getting these young people, many of whom boast excellent skills, into work are well worth it, with higher loyalty and retention rates as well as ensuring that the resultant cost to society of having these young people out of work is avoided.
On top of this there are various recruitment incentives on offer from the Scottish Government, such as the Employer Recruitment Incentive (ERI), in order to help employers provide training and skills development opportunities for those in this group.
This and other packages of support available to employers and young people with additional support needs (ASN) should be made more widely known, as well as a greater effort made to support employers to personalise and design jobs for young people in this category and provide appropriate training.
We would urge Scotland’s employers to look beyond the label of those with ASN, disregard the comments by Lord Freud and give our most vulnerable young people the support they deserve.
Falkland House School