Lord Freud has been pilloried by the “PC police” for saying that disabled people are not worth the minimum wage. But somewhere behind his clumsy and unfortunate phrasing, and the clamorous uproar it has given rise to, is a nugget of common sense.
The minimum wage protects against unscrupulous employers, but for many disabled people, it is a barrier to meaningful employment. Some of these people would no doubt welcome a real opportunity in the world of work, but they are denied that opportunity if their productivity is poor and employers cannot afford to pay them £6.50 per hour. After all, businesses are not charities.
The government should be trying to reduce the barriers people with disabilities face in getting jobs. And those who are currently shouting themselves blue in the face are not doing themselves (or disabled people) any favours by shutting down the debate.
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