Tory MP: Disabled should work for less than minimum wage

Tory backbencher Philip Davies caused outrage today by telling Parliament that disabled people should work for less than the minimum wage, reports Shamik Das.

Tory backbencher Philip Davies caused outrage today by telling Parliament that disabled people should work for less than the minimum wage. The remarks were described as “outrageous and unacceptable” by a select committee chair, and “a preposterous suggestion” by a leading charity. Davies made his comments during a debate on the Employment Opportunities Bill, which had its second reading today.

Anne Begg, chair of the work and pensions committe, said:

“These comments are utterly outrageous and unacceptable. To suggest that disabled people should be treated as second class citizens is shocking and shows just what a warped world some Tories demonstrate they inhabit.”

Davies also said people with learning difficulties should be made to work for sub-standard wages – made to work for less than £5.93 an hour.

Responding, Mind spokeswoman Sophie Corlett said:

“It is a preposterous suggestion that someone who has a mental health problem should be prepared to accept less than minimum wage to get their foot in the door with an employer.

“People with mental health problems should not be considered a source of cheap labour and should be paid appropriately for the jobs they do.”

Last month, Davies described Britain’s contribution to international aid as “stark raving mad”; more sinister were his recent comments that there was nothing offensive about ‘blacking up’.

Davies had said:

“Why it is so offensive to black up your face… I have never understood this.”

As I said before, what a sad, pathetic little man Mr Davies is.

98 Responses to “Tory MP: Disabled should work for less than minimum wage”

  1. Dave Citizen

    Female person Eris – you really should think your comments through before spouting them out for all to see. The real world doesn’t operate according to your narrow example. Leon is absolutely right: where would you draw the line on “disability” – think of the costs and bad feeling generated by trying to find who could undercut wages and who couldn’t….. what a load of rubbish.

    And in any case – what sort of example would it set to have some people classed as inherently inferior to full pay “proper workers”. It’s so bad it’s almost laughable.

  2. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    Your sudden conscientiousness for the truth surprises me Mouse, I would have expected you to outright believe his claim.

    I looked into this and among the first results on Google is Philip Davies making the same claim in 2008 and included employees that are ethnic minorities My Autist-senses started tingling. Harriet Harmon gave the riposte that the Equality Commission publishes it’s pay figures so I went digging for them. But the Mail article itself states that the gap is just:

    “It stated the average salary for a male member of staff was £33,366 compared to £28,920 for a female.

    The average salary for a white worker was £30,803 compared to £29,035 for black and ethnic minority staff.

    Disabled workers were paid an average of £29,784 compared to £30,598 for non-disabled.”

    These are tiny differences compared to the pay nationwide pay gaps the Commission publishes reports on.

    Will keep digging for their self-report in case it throws any curve-balls or has been updated since 2008. But I’ve looked at a lot of comments made by Philip Davies today and never have I see such a dense concentration of falsehoods from an MP.

  3. Look Left – Tory MP says disabled should work for below minimum wage | Left Foot Forward

    […] Begg, chair of the work and pensions select committee, said: “These comments are utterly outrageous and unacceptable. To suggest that disabled people should […]

  4. Lee

    I’m 49 years old, have Asperger’s syndrome and have never worked. In order to get my first job I need to be able to offer an employer something, and I think that being able to work for less than minimum wage might just do it.

    I doubt that financially I’d be any worse off due to the complicated interaction between the various benefits I receive and the fees I have to pay to Social Services for my care.

  5. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    Lee, those of us on the Autistic spectrum are the most disproportionately disadvantaged in employment prospects. I have worked for employers for free, many have; jobs have not materialised from it.

    If ‘free’ doesn’t satisfy employers, then what makes you think any sum above zero but below minimum wage will do?

  6. Paul Gleeson

    Tory MP Disabled should work for less than minimum wage Left Foot Forward: http://t.co/i7cwpOb – Same old Tories, heartless senseless cruel

  7. George McLean

    Does Mr Davies also believe women and black people should have a lower-rate NMW as they are also discriminated against by some employers?

  8. PJD

    My namesake is getting nuttier and nuttier!

  9. mr. Sensible

    George I was wondering the same thing.

    I think this nothing short of a disgrace.

  10. Mister Jabberwock

    George – “Does Mr Davies also believe women and black people should have a lower-rate NMW as they are also discriminated against by some employers?” err No. I don’t agree with Philip Davies but why can’t people here argue against what he says not their irrational prejudices.

    The facts are that disabled people often find it hard to compete for jobs as their disability makes them less economically productive. That is discrimination if you like but it is rational discrimination and completely lawful. We all make that same discrimination in every aspect of our lives – when buying a service we buy the one that is best value for money and meets our needs. It is not unfair discrimination.

    Work is important to people not just for the wage it brings in. One solution would be for the state to subsidize the wage for people with certain disabilities in certain occupations; but I sort of feel it would be very difficult to avoid abuse.

    The current situation is very unsatisfactory to the disabled and very shocking – it would be good to hear alternative solutions rather than shrieks of un-thought through PC rhetoric.

  11. links for 2011-06-17 « The NRB

    […] Tory MP: Disabled should work for less than minimum wage | Left Foot Forward […]

  12. Leon Wolfson

    It’s *perfectly* rational to believe that labour value should not be discounted below a certain point because of personal circumstances. That means, to me and to a lot of others, the national minimum wage.

    Giving an inch, start carving out exceptions, and the Tories will take a mile, as well – we’ll rapidly end up with large numbers of low-paid workers.

  13. Cándido Rodríguez

    Un diputado conservador británico dice que los minusválidos deberían trabajar por menos del salario mínimo. #dandoideas http://j.mp/iEAmHB

  14. Rick Seymour

    These words are just a smokescreen!
    This is the piece of legislation that was being discussed….

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2010-2011/0029/cbill_2010-20110029_en_2.htm#l1g1

    Tories want to set up a “Low Pay commission inquiry” to have REGIONAL minimum wages.
    MPs for Christchurch, Shipley & Ribble Valley

    They also want to have an “opt out” system….with no protections

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Mason Dixon, Autistic – You say: “Your sudden conscientiousness for the truth surprises me Mouse, I would have expected you to outright believe his claim.”

    You shouldn’t be surprised, I am nothing if not consistent.

    I disagree with your excuse for this body to pay the disabled less, as they clearly do. I do not care if it is a small amount – they should be setting an example.

    The difference is 2.66% or 3.8 years worth of the coalition governments current proposed spending cuts at 0.7% / year. And we have seen how hysterical people get over those levels of cuts.

    The size doesn’t matter – I say people with disabilities should get equal pay for an equal job. I’m old fashioned like that…

    (Not that this government is actually cutting anything at the moment)

  16. Leon Wolfson

    Of course they are, Anon E Mouse. They’re cutting corporation tax. /Priorities/, you know.

  17. joe kane

    Fancy that. Who would have guessed?
    The far right-wing racist tory rodent, Anon E Mouse, who trolls Labour Party associated websites and blogs, tries to deflect attention away from a typical extremist Tory MP bigot onto The Equalities Commission, based on a radio interview by the self-same Tory MP bigot in question.

    I say people with disabilities should get equal pay for an equal job. I’m old fashioned like that…
    – What they shouldn’t get, of course, according to the resident Tory rodent troll of Labour Party blogs and websites, is any kind of help from a state, which ensures the rich get richer and the poor, weak, sick and disabled are penalised for not being rich and go to the wall. Which is old-fashioned, unlike modern human rights legislation protecting the rights of disabled people, which is only very recent and not old-fashioned at all.

    You shouldn’t be surprised, I am nothing if not consistent.
    – Exactly tory rodent. Nobody can trust a word you right-wing racist Tory bigots come out with, except when its to express your disgust at the victims of your bigotry.

  18. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    Mouse; “You shouldn’t be surprised, I am nothing if not consistent.”

    Then you are nothing.

    I made no excuses, I showed you the figures and if you really like you can check for yourself if a reasonable statistician would class them as statistically significant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_significance. I doubt you really think they should be exact, so I’d like to know how similar they would have to be to satisfy you. As you can’t actually tell from those figures whether or not disabled people are being paid less for the same job, you have nothing to support your suggestion that the Commission are not doing so.

    For me, I am satisfied if they are not statistically significant, IE: a differential that can reasonably be put down to chance.

  19. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – Since like the BNP you refuse to believe there was a holocaust in Nazi Germany, where millions of people were indiscriminately murdered by right wing sickos like yourself, I’m afraid I will not take any lectures from you.

    Despite what you refuse to believe joe kane, Nazi Germany killed thousands of disabled human beings in their “Final Solution” so please excuse me if I don’t take your post seriously. Where in response to a point made to you:

    ““Reasonably minded people would say that neither Griffin nor Irving represented mainstream British views. They would be accurate. Likewise, for this event, neither Lynn nor Greenstein represent mainstream Jewish thought on the subject of anti-Zionism.”

    You say: “Idiotic fucking HP Sauce scum. Typical behaviour one would expect from the trash and vermin that infest that shit hole. The real tragedy is that Socialist Unity are now not only apologists for these infectious human waste but also stand in “solidarity” with them. WTF? Just tell them to go fuck themselves and stop being so fucking soft!”

    Charming.

    If you need me to upload previous posts you’ve made glorifying the Nazi’s and their Final Solution just let me know. In the meantime reader of this fine blog may be interested in your other comments here:

    http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/06/should-brian-souter-have-his-knighthood-removed/comment-page-1/#comment-116094

    Quite frankly joe kane, to have you commenting anything supporting disabled rights is like turkeys voting for Christmas when we all know you’d have them forced into gas chambers if you had your way.

    Get help joe kane. You need it…

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Agreed….

    Mason Dixon, Autistic – I’m not the one making the point. As I said, I heard it on the radio.

    You are the one making an issue of it.

    If you think it’s OK to pay people with disabilities less then that’s up to you.

    Personally I don’t treat people based on their disabilities and can only see them as equal providing they are both doing the same job.

    If you think (and can personally excuse the fact) it’s OK to pay people differing rates depending on their abilities / disabilities that’s up to you. I’ve worked with the disabled and can tell you they don’t get a fair deal in this country but I won’t argue if you think they do.

    I don’t accept the statistic. Equal pay for equal jobs I say.

    Sorry Mason Dixon, Autistic but that’s how I feel…

  21. George McLean

    @18. Mr Jabberwock

    It is not an “irrational prejudice” to ask whether Mr Davies’s position entails other groups that are discriminated against in the labour market offering themselves for hire at cut-price rates. It is an anlogy that seeks to expose the fallacy of his view. You yourself with your “err No” appear to accept his position is untenable.

    You also appear to characterise my question to Mr Davies as “shrieks of un-thought through PC rhetoric”. You are wrong. Mr Davies opposed the principle of the minimum wage and admitted on Newsnight on Friday 17 June that he had “lost the argument” on it. I infer he would like to see a return to the position where employers paid whatever they could get away with (as do many capitalists and their apologists). Like you (no doubt) I wish to see the NMW vigorously enforced.

    But you know as well as I do that Mr Davies’s proposal does not address discrimination against disabled people because it is not designed to. His proposal is designed to undermine the principle of the NMW for all workers. Like all species of discrimination (anti-Black, anti-women …) the aim for capitalists like Mr Davies is to divide the working class.

    As for your defence of “rational discrimination”, the duty on an employer broadly is to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate work for disabled people. An employer who does not do so will be liable in the tribunal. Only if there are no adjustments that can reasonably be made will “discrimination” (ie not employing that person at the rate for the job) be acceptable.

    Mr Davies should spend even more of his time than he (no doubt) does at present promoting employers who have an enlightened attitude to engaging disabled people rather than using disability as a wedge to crack apart minimum wage legislation.

  22. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    Again Mouse you’ve been caught out and had to resort to claiming I expressed views which I haven’t. That is your only consistency.

    “Mason Dixon, Autistic – I’m not the one making the point. As I said, I heard it on the radio.

    You are the one making an issue of it.”

    Ahem-

    “I disagree with your excuse for this body to pay the disabled less, as they clearly do. I do not care if it is a small amount – they should be setting an example. “

  23. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    “Sorry Mason Dixon, Autistic but that’s how I feel…”

    People have feelings. Trolls are liars and liars aren’t people. You don’t have feelings.

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Mason Dixon, Autistic – I AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT THIS CHARACTER BUT I ALSO THINK THERE SHOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RATES OF PAY WHICH ARE DEPENDANT ON A PERSON’S DISABILITIES.

    IN YOUR POST 11 YOU SAY: “These are tiny differences compared to the pay nationwide pay gaps the Commission publishes reports on.” I DON’T CARE IF THEY ARE TINY – I WANT THEM TO BE THE SAME.

    WHY ARE YOU BEING PERSONALLY ABUSIVE Mason Dixon, Autistic? STOP BEING RUDE PLEASE.

    IT’S WHAT YOU SAID. I DO NOT EXCUSE THE DIFFERENCE AND BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY….

  25. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    I am being abusive because you are. When you say I said things which I didn’t, that is abuse to me. When you adopt a position, only to U-turn on it (as you did the last time we crossed swords) when it is scrutinised and then pretend you haven’t, that’s abusive. No one can have a discussion with you because you’re content to change the topic on a whim and personalise it. Following my disbelief that you might actually follow evidence-based reasoning for once I would have been happy to discuss the figures available. You were not content with that though and instead accused me of ‘making excuses’ when I merely pointed out a mathematical fact: that is that the average pay for each group that the Commission publishes is ‘statistically insignificant’ which means that the tiny differences in them are best explained by chance. I linked you to the Wikipedia page so you could check for yourself what statistical significant means.

    Despite it being a topic YOU brought up, you then went on to say it was I who was making the positive claims and making a big issue out of it, something demonstrably false by the thread history.

    You invite everything on yourself and do everything you can to advertise that you are a troll not interested in good faith discussion on anything.

  26. Anon E Mouse

    Mason Dixon, Autistic – I do not accept is ‘statistically insignificant’ when it is in reference to someones pay and a person with disabilities gets paid less. What a surprise.

    If a 2.66% difference is ‘statistically insignificant’ then people should stop bleating on about the government’s 0.7% year on year cuts. By your own reckoning they are definitely insignificant, (being 3.8 times less than the figure you quoted) and before you start your usual indignant ranting, you are the one who linked to Wiki not me.

    Why is the “chance” not in favour of people with disabilities? Whose side are you on Mason Dixon, Autistic?

    I’d have thought you’d have been as annoyed at the pay differential as I am instead of being objectionable just for the sake of it. You’re not as bad as joe kane above, who has shown himself to be a racist, anti-semitic, holocaust denier like the BNP but you are still unnecessarily rude and there is really no need for it.

    You are perfectly free to ignore my posts Mason Dixon, Autistic as is the fascist joe kane.

    As for calling me a “troll”, as I’ve said before, from a supporter of a party that forced Gordon Brown on the public, it is really not an insult…

  27. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    “Mason Dixon, Autistic – I do not accept is ‘statistically insignificant’ when it is in reference to someones pay and a person with disabilities gets paid less. What a surprise.”

    ‘Statistical significance’ has a specific mathematical definition. Maths doesn’t change just because you don’t like the answer and in this case the differential is best explained by chance.

    If you care even slightly about the truth you’ll stop with the Mail-speak and listen for once in your life. The figures are *averages*, neither of us know how many employees there are at the Commission (whilst I’ve been looking for facts, what have you been doing?), meaning we don’t know what jobs are being paid what and who is being paid what. Going by those numbers the highest paid employee could be disabled but the average brought down by two extra disabled working as a junior researcher if the number of Commission employees is quite low.

    If you have not grasped the point here, then you wouldn’t pass GCSE Maths.

  28. Anon E Mouse

    Mason Dixon, Autistic – YOU produced the figures not me. Either HE’S right (which I suspect is the case) or HE’S not.

    The figures YOU produced show that HE’S right and the disabled get paid less.

    You can excuse that all you want with as much psycho babble as you like but HE appears to be correct in HIS assertion that able people are paid more than people with disabilities.

    I haven’t been looking for the facts because I simply asked if he was right and you Mason Dixon, Autistic, as per usual, went off on one. I’m prepared to accept him at his word regarding the commission and their double standards. The numbers you produced would seem to validate HIS remarks. That’s all.

    I took O Level maths btw – too old for GCSE’s…

  29. George McLean

    @ Anon E Mouse and Mason Dixon, Autistic (passim)

    Calm down, dears. Davies is only a Tory trying to undermine the minimum wage …

  30. Tom White

    LOL – well if you ever needed evidence that Anon E Bore is a troll, here it is. Quintessential stuff. Difficult to argue in favour of the rightwinger in this case. Problem? Not at all. Start a ‘debate’ on a minor factual point and then pursue it myopically rather than actually engage with the main issue.

    Dreary.

  31. Anon E Mouse

    Tom Shite – As I said earlier, to be called a troll by a man like yourself who voted for Gordon Brown, is really not an insult. How could it be?

    Whilst qualifying my position regarding this man’s unacceptable comments in post 7, I am just looking to ensure there is no hypocrisy from this body that we have no power to get rid of.

    This MP can be sacked by his local party and the electors get the chance to give him the boot every five years which is more often than the Quango in discussion.

    Both positions are wrong – his views and their unequal rates of pay, yet you choose to make personal remarks about my comments – remarks that we can see from my initial post are clearly incorrect. I do have a right wing bias which is why I voted for Labour my whole life.

    But with people with your smearing attitude representing the Ed Miliband / Gordon Brown style of the party I feel it’s going to be a long long time but you get anywhere power in this country again Tom Shite. Which is good…

    Predictable.

  32. larry

    that S O B Wouldn’t be saying that if he wAS DISABLED

  33. joe kane

    The Tory rodent, who trolls other Labour Party associated websites and blogs, just can’t stop their anti-social abuse on an unmoderated blog.

    Keep repeating the same lies and maybe somebody will believe them Tory rodent, but I doubt it. Most people aren’t small-minded bigoted racist Tory supporters like you.

    Keep up the great work Tory rodent. We couldn’t do it without you.

    Your anonymous internet campaign of abusiveness and unwillingness to engage in civilised debate just proves how morally, intellectually and democratically bankrupt the Tories are.

  34. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    “Mason Dixon, Autistic – YOU produced the figures not me. Either HE’S right (which I suspect is the case) or HE’S not. ”

    The figures are right (they are self-published by the Commission themselves), his claim about them is not. After repeatedly explaining to you why he is not right, you’ve shown you just don’t want to listen nor apply the O-level that was wasted on you.

  35. joe kane

    Philp Davies MP expenses claims.
    In 5 years he’s cost the taxpayer over half a million pounds. Obviously Davies isn’t working for minimum wages or below –

    Tory MP Philip Davies Rakes It In From Taxpayers While Telling Disabled People they Must Work for Less
    Ayes to the left
    20 June 2011
    http://cameron-cloggysmoralcompass.blogspot.com/2011/06/unbelievable-hypocrisy-of-conservative.html

  36. Cameron and Osborne want the unemployed to work for £1.78 an hour | Left Foot Forward

    […] Davies argued that for disabled people: “…the national minimum wage may be more of a hindrance than a […]

  37. Adam Johnson

    Philip Davies referring to Lib Dem "lickspittle Euro fanatics". You may when he called for wage cuts for the disabled: http://t.co/SUGLkGHA

  38. David John Austin

    Don't normally like @leftfootfwd but… Philip Davies MP: Disabled should work for less than minimum wage http://t.co/MJWXh36q What a twat.

  39. That Oliver James

    Philip Davies referring to Lib Dem "lickspittle Euro fanatics". You may when he called for wage cuts for the disabled: http://t.co/SUGLkGHA

  40. David Taylor

    Philip Davies referring to Lib Dem "lickspittle Euro fanatics". You may when he called for wage cuts for the disabled: http://t.co/SUGLkGHA

  41. Cookie Monster

    Philip Davies referring to Lib Dem "lickspittle Euro fanatics". You may when he called for wage cuts for the disabled: http://t.co/SUGLkGHA

  42. The 12 practical problems of localising public sector pay | Left Foot Forward

    […] Tory MP: Disabled should work for less than minimum wage – Shamik Das, June 17th […]

  43. Look Left – The Tory Olympic legacy, Osbornomics under siege and IDS | Left Foot Forward

    […] backbencher Philip Davies MP – the man who last year said disabled people should work for less than the minimum wage – who this week told a Save The Children panel […]

  44. Alex Taylor

    With what you wrote on Mr Davies MP’s comment on ‘blacking up’, is hypocrisy a family trait?

  45. TJB

    I look forward to a new article decrying Mr Straw Jnr “a sad, pathetic little man”. Feel free to tag the article “nasty candidate”, “hypocrisy” and “ooops”

  46. Radical Rodent

    Ah. Censorship. What else would you call removal of my comment, which was certainly not quite as personal as those below? Now I know your measure, I shall not bother you again.

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