Comments that disabled workers are not worth the minimum wage are further signs that the Conservatives look at people only in terms of their ‘cash value’, says UKIP’s Communities spokesman.
The accusation comes after a secret recording of the Minister for Welfare reform speaking at a meeting of party members at their annual conference was leaked to the media.
In the recording Lord Freud responds to a question about employing people with disabilities, by 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…”
On hearing the comments, UKIP’s Communities Spokesman Amjad Bashir MEP said: “Doesn’t this just show that the Tories judge people on how much cash they think they are worth, and couldn’t care less about providing for society’s most vulnerable?
“Once again we see the Conservatives revealing that they treat the minimum wage as if it should be the maximum wage.
“Lord Freud will no doubt try and say he was trying to help disabled people into work, but I wonder how many disabled people he employed when he was earning his staggering fortune in banking?
“Disabled workers deserve the same living standards and pay as everyone else, a loaf of bread or a can of beans isn’t cheaper for a disabled person, and the minimum wage should be exactly that – the minimum.”
Since the release of the secret recording, Dan Scorer, head of policy at Mencap, said: “I think he needs to very seriously consider his position after making these comments.”