Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Disability and the Minimum Wage

A bit like trying to have a sensible discussion about drugs or rape, to name but two, is the problem of daring to suggest, in this day and age, that different people might be treated differently.

I have only heard the rubbish audio version of the, presumably illegally-obtained, comments by Lord Freud. And, as ever, various easily-smelling-a-bandwagon-to-jump-on people are condemning him. Hold those stones while I tell you a story.

Paul used to help out at my last church. He spent his days at a Day Centre for adults with learning difficulties. They tried hard to find work for people such as Paul. We had him in once a week to hoover the church carpet, deliberately asking our cleaners not to do this and to leave it to Paul.

Paul couldn't easily communicate. He knew my name and would say Steve when he saw me, then 'work' and occasionally mention the names of others he knew. I liked the way he called me my name. Yeve. Yeve.

We paid him £3. The Centre implored us not to pay him any more, for large amounts of money worried him. But he could learn to budget his £3. He was lovely and, I believe, often used his money to buy flowers for a grave of a family member.

Hoovering two carpets was a half hour job. Maybe ten years ago £3 was a fair wage for that. But it took Paul all morning. Maybe he wasn't paid per hour, but to do a job.

I wrote about him once in an old post on this blog.

Now could it possibly be people such as Paul to whom Lord Freud's questioners were referring? And if so, let's have a grown up discussion about that.

I understand where he is coming from, if that is what he was talking about.

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