THE Equality and Human Rights Commission have blasted MP Philip Davies over his comments that disabled people should be paid less than the minimum wage.
An EHRC spokesperson said:
“This is nonsense. It shows a total lack of understanding of the abilities and aspirations of Mr Davies’ disabled constituents.
“Is he arguing that Richard Branson, by definition, is less productive than people who don’t have dyslexia? Or that Winston Churchill was unfit to run the country because of his depression?
“Disabled people have the right to work and to be treated equally in the workplace. As long as people like Mr Davies only see the disability, not the ability, the barriers in society will remain for disabled people.
“Evidence from our inquiry into disability-related harassment suggests that the perpetrators view disabled people as worth less than other people.
“We will be writing to Mr Davies in due course to remind him of his responsibilities and will be inviting him to attend an evidence session for this inquiry.”
Meanwhile, Guy Parckar, acting director of policy, campaigns and communications at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said:
“The fact that employers routinely discriminate and refuse to employ disabled people should not mean that disabled people are forced to accept lower and lower wages to compete – that is absurd and is just compounding one injustice with another.
“Already disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people, far less likely to be in work and when in work earn less on average than non-disabled people.
“The solution to this is to challenge and tackle discrimination, to actually try to remove the barriers that disabled people can face to finding work.
“Philip Davies should make tackling discrimination towards disabled people his key priority.”
Disability employment facts
Across Britain, the employment rates of disabled adults are very low with only around 50% employed compared to 79% of non-disabled adults (a difference of nearly 30% in employment rates).
When disabled people are employed, they are significantly more likely than non-disabled people to work part-time.
In 2009, 33% of disabled people were in full-time employment, compared to 60% of non-disabled people.52 The reasons for this (personal choice or discrimination) are not clear.