Sunday 6 May 2012

Criminals More Worthy of Jobs Than Disabled?

(Image description: front cover page of British newspaper Sunday Express with headline, "TORY SNEERS AT DISABLED" - their capitalisation.)

For readers from other lands, the Sunday Express is a right-of-centre newspaper that generally supports the Conservative Party, known in the UK as Tories.

Here is some of the article and a link to the full story:

"In a heartless outburst, the Work and Pensions Secretary said he wanted to save money by closing factories and getting more people into “proper jobs”.
[W]e urged him to rethink plans that will leave 1,518 disabled workers out of work with little prospect of new jobs at a time when unemployment is at a 17-year high of 2.7million.

An irate Mr Duncan Smith was unapologetic, however.

In a tirade campaigners later branded “unbelievable arrogance”, he stormed: “Is it a kindness to stick people in some factory where they are not doing any work at all? Just making cups of coffee?
Stunned, Julie, 55, said: “We work in our factories!”
The minister barked back: “You don’t produce very much at all.”
Asked why the disabled were being robbed of a choice between a segregated or mainstream workplace, Mr Duncan Smith snapped: “How far do you want to go with the idea that you can choose to do exactly what you want?”
“Remploy provides dignity, support, security and self-esteem to its staff. This is not only a fight to save jobs but to reward hard work and endeavour, something a Conservative-led Government should be only too willing to support.”
Mr Duncan Smith was the widely derided Tory leader from 2001-2003. (Sunday Express)

Chris Grayling, Employment Minister, stated only last month in the Commons: "The worst thing for their health and well-being is for them [unemployed disabled] to be on benefits for the rest of their lives…" (Hansard 23rd April 2012)

And yet Ian Duncan Smith wants to condemn the severely disabled to a life-time of unemployment and benefit dependency with a corollary that they will presumably suffer ill-health and poor well-being as a result.

Only two days ago, according to the Independent newspaper, Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, pleaded for employers to take on ex-prisoners. "At a Downing Street summit this month, he will call on executives from up to 40 companies to play their part by helping ex-offenders to "go straight" after their release by offering them jobs. (Independent)

So if we assume that the so-called joined-up thinking, the Government so often talks about, is in operation here, we can see that the disabled are considered less worthy of employment than criminals.

And that is actually what it feels like in the UK at this current time. We do not appear to be worthy of jobs nor benefits. There are now increasing numbers of reports of disabled folk not disabled enough to receive disability benefits under the guise of Welfare Reform; but likewise are too ill to receive job-seekers allowance because they are not fit enough to work. In this catch-22 they receive absolutely nothing.

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