Comments by Phillip Davies MP

Standard

I am truly and utterly appalled at the attitude of this gentleman. For those who haven’t seen his comments

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/06/17/tory-mp-suggests-disabled-offer-to-work-for-below-minimum-wage-115875-23207976/

 

One comment stood out for me and that was the bit about people with learning difficulties being “less productive” than those without. My initial disgust led me to a bit of googling.

“Before being elected MP for Shipley, Philip worked at Asda in Leeds as a Senior Marketing Manager and before that as a Customer Services Project Manager”.

(http://www.philip-davies.org.uk/text.aspx?id=1)

Clearly Mr Davies opinions go against the policies and experiences of his former employers who are keen to employ people who have a range of disabilities. Both Remploy and the Mencap have worked with Asda to promote the employment of people with learning disabilities and a quote from ASDA on the Remploy website states

“David Smith, ASDA’s People Director, said that there were strong commercial reasons for employing disabled people. “Firstly, it is the right thing to do and secondly we find that people with disabilities are 10 per cent less likely to leave us. Retention is better and we also have an improved absenteeism record. Certainly, commitment to the job is absolutely massive.”

(http://www.remploy.co.uk/content/home-page-feature/asda.ashx)

What needs to happen then to ensure more people with learning difficulties are able to work? Stop moving the goalposts and ensure that employers are fully aware of the benefits of employing people with disabilities and the support that they can get.

One think I do agree is that when you are faced with someone who has a learning difficulty and someone who doesn’t you are going to choose the person who doesn’t have the disability. In my own experience I worked with people who had moderate learning difficulties who had worked in market gardens for years but as the numbers of foreign students wanting summer jobs increased, they were pushed out and unable to find work.

It’s the same in so many areas of society though, look at young people in areas of central london who will never work and yet they are a few miles from hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants who i’m afraid will employ large numbers of foreign students. Is Mr Davies implying that young people without disabilities should also take a paycut? Obviously not.

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