Lord Freud remarks spur disabled opportunities debate says Dagenham charity

PUBLISHED: 10:09 17 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:40 17 October 2014

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A local charity has said it is important comments made by a Tory peer have spurred on a debate regarding opportunities for disabled people.

Their comments came after the welfare reform minister, Lord Freud, suggested disabled workers are “not worth” the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour and should be paid just £2.

DABD (uk), a charity based in Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham, said: “It is important to value each person as an individual regardless of their ability (or impairment) and with this in mind, it is unwise to suggest that a monetary value can be placed on a person’s worth.”

The charity, which promotes independence and inclusion, added: “While we think the language Lord Freud used in his comments was ill-considered, we do think that it is important that he has opened up the debate regarding disabled people’s opportunity to work and be recognised as a strong contributor to society.”

Following the contentious remarks, Barking singer Billy Bragg has called for the welfare reform minister to resign on Twitter.

He posted a link to a ‘unionstogether’ petition which urges people to “sign up here to call on Lord Freud to go from the Government immediately.”

The Tory peer has now issued a “full and unreserved apology” and said: “To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else.”

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