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Minimum wage: a barrier to employment for disabled people

Damon Rose Damon Rose | 16:48 UK time, Friday, 17 June 2011

In a new twist to the debate on getting disabled people off benefits and back to work, a Conservative MP suggested to the House of Commons this morning that disabled people were unable to be competitive because of the existence of the minimum wage.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said:

"The people who are most disadvantaged by the national minimum wage are the most vulnerable in society."

Read the full story, with reactions, here:
MP says minimum wage a hindrance to disabled jobseekers

The MP argued that if a disabled person were able to offer their services at a lower rate, they would be a more attractive employment proposition and could build trust if taken on.

"If they were able to prove themselves earlier on and reassure the employer who took them on that they weren't causing a problem in a way that they might feel they were going to- I'm sure that there are a lot of myths out there as well - I'm sure that many of these people will be just as productive as people without a disability - but if they could take them on and give them a chance they would be able to find themselves moving up the pay rate much more quickly. At the moment they're just not getting any opportunity at all."

Mr Davies also suggested ex-prisoners might benefit from the abolition of the national minimum wage.

If an employer takes someone on at a rate lower than the NMW - presently £5.93 per hour for people over 21 - they risk receiving a large fine.

The bill - a private members bill on Employment Opportunities - was opposed by government today.

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