Lord Freud got it right and Miliband was playing politics

Ed Miliband is in huge trouble, he is deeply unpopular within the country and even within his own party there are many calls for him to go. So he is desperate. And his behaviour yesterday at PMQs shows exactly how desperate he is. At a time when we have an Ebola crisis, when ISIS militants are bringing mayhem to a swathe of the Middle East, when the Russians are invading their neighbours and when we are trying to fix our constitution to restore English rights, all Miliband can do is make political capital by prevaricating and equivocating.

Miliband’s criticism of Lord Freud was disingenuous. What Lord Freud said was in a private meeting where policy was being debated. It was not a public ministerial speech. Miliband took Freud’s words totally out of context and utterly misrepresented them. Miliband was playing politics. No wonder David Cameron got annoyed.

Miliband quoted Freud as saying that some people “are not worth the full wage”. This is a true fact. If someone can only do half as much work they should not be paid the same as someone who does the full amount. Any employer would quickly go bust if they paid people for doing less. The second Miliband quote of Freud was “something we can do if someone wants to work for £2 an hour”. You can see straight away that Freud is trying to help “something we can do” is the big clue. And when he says £2 and hour he is talking about the employer paying that. Whilst the government pays the rest. This is called a disabled wage subsidy. So the disabled person gets the full wage, but the employer doesn’t have to pay out for someone who can’t work as hard as a full bodied person.

What we are talking about here is decency and compassion in society. What Lord Freud was discussing was how to give a group of disabled people back their pride and purpose. By allowing them to have a job, even if they aren’t up to doing it properly. By the government paying a disabled wage subsidy.

The core of this whole matter is the disabled wage subsidy a mechanism for the government to pay part of the wages of disabled people who cannot do a job as well as a full bodied person. This mechanism is already used by many countries. A quick look on Google throws up Sweden (apparently all the Scandinavian countries do it), Ireland and Australia.

Let’s look at the Irish website, it is very clear in its wording: Sometimes the nature of a disability can restrict an employee’s productivity in comparison with other staff, irrespective of his or her ability to do a job. In situations where this restriction results in a loss of productivity for the employer, the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) allows the employer make up the shortfall through grant assistance. This is exactly what Lord Freud was talking about.

What the world should be asking is why does Ed Miliband think that this is a bad idea.

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Lord Freud transcript:

“You make a really good point about the disabled. Now I had not thought through and we have not got a system for, you know, kind of going below the Minimum Wage. But we do have, you know, Universal Credit is really useful for people with the fluctuating conditions who can do some work – go up and down – because they can earn and get…and get, you know, bolstered through Universal Credit, and they can move that amount up and down. 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”

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12 Comments


  1. Man’s a pillock all people deserve a living wage disabled are people, treat them as such

    Reply

  2. Nonsense. Why would he be speaking about people wanting ‘to work for £2 an hour’. (” if someone wants to work for £2 an hour”) if he wasn’t thinking along the lines of disabled people earning £2 an hour.

    Reply

    1. Jack. Lord Freud says ” bolstered through Universal Credit”. Try reading the transcript again.

      Reply

  3. The minimum wage is £6.50 a hour (or less for certain age groups) and it’s the legal obligation of every employer to pay this.

    The government is already spending billions to prop up the pay of people close to the minimum wage, taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay even more to pay for those employers who refuse to pay the disabled the amount they legally should be payed.

    Reply

  4. It has already been pointed out elsewhere that anyone earning £2/hr would end up worse off even with all ‘top-ups’ through Universal Credit or wherever, that the DWP would allow them.
    So even that way round its bad.
    He still ought not to have said what he did.

    Reply

  5. The context shows that Lord Freud was referring to a top up system. He seems to be repeating what someone else said,when he said, “where actually as you say they’re not worth it.” That phrase in my opinion is offensive and should not have been repeated by Lord Freud.

    Reply

  6. if you can’t handle polite counter augment mate dont post links to your articles on twitter I think you might need to grow a thicker skin just because someone disagrees with doesn’t make them ignorant, if fact calling people ignorant because they disagree with is in fact ignorant and pretty bigoted.

    Reply

  7. What a load of bollocks! Freud is and has always been an opportunistic chancer, a parasite who has never been worth the money he’s been paid! The Freud Report took 3 weeks to compile at the request of Bliar in 2006! He turned Tory in 2009

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  8. Thr Labour Government brought in a similar scheme but the employer contributed nothing, all of their wage was paid by us, the taxpayer. Now that a Tory suggests that the employer actually pays towards the cost some people are up in arms, why?

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  9. Barry Prat above asks why Mr Freud apologised if what he said was right. It is clear now that his remarks have deliberate been taken out of context. He apologised because he inadvertently offended an element of our society. It takes a man to apologise and a prat to belittle him for it.

    Reply

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