While many were shocked at what the Minister for the Disabled, Lord Freud, said recently, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Here are some of the things he has said recently and in the past:
- About disabled workers: ‘There is a small…there is a group, where actually as you say, they are not worth the full wage’. He would, he said, find if there was a way of paying such a person £2 an hour.
- About food banks: ‘More people are using food banks now because there are more food banks.’
- About separated families and the bedroom tax: ‘Children could use a sofa bed when visiting a separated parent.’
More importantly he is a minister in the government that closed the Remploy factories which had employed disabled people for 67 years and which numbered 83 as recently as 2007. At their peak in the late 1980s Remploy factories employed more than 10,000 disabled people in 94 sites, all unionised.
The most galling thing is that Lord Freud spoke about the productivity of disabled workers when he has never produced anything useful to society himself. In his book ‘Freud in the City’ he describes his activities with great pride – selling assets and stocks above their value.
For the Tory government, an ex–city speculator with this outlook made him perfectly qualified for the task of Minister for the Disabled.