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Tory welfare minister says disabled 'not worth the full wage'

By Kev Hedges     Oct 15, 2014 in Politics
The UK opposition Labour Party is urging a welfare minister to resign, after comments made at a Conservative Party fringe meeting suggested disabled people could be paid less than the minimum wage.
Lord Freud was addressing a number of Conservative activists in September when he was heard to suggest disabled workers "may want to work for £2.00 [$3.20] an hour." Ed Miliband, Labour leader told the House of Commons the comments represent the Conservatives' "worst instincts." Prime minister David Cameron was quick to distant himself from the remarks saying, "these are not the views of anyone in government."
The comments came after a question was posed on the minimum wage and the disabled. Then Lord Freud was heard saying:
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 ...
Although the comments were more like the private thoughts of a man speaking out loud, the Labour Party leader grilled David Cameron relentlessly in the Commons during Wednesday afternoon's Question Time debate.
Another Welfare Minister, Esther McVey said the words "will haunt him" and he will have to "explain himself" if he wants to stay in government. The minimum wage in Britain currently stands at £6.50 per hour and the Labour Party leader quizzed the prime minister again and again in the House, repeatedly asking the front bench "surely someone holding those views can't possibly stay in your Government?”
More about Minimum wage, freud disabled comments, tory fringe meeting, conservative welfare minister, Lord Freud comments
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