Wirral's disabled people should not be treated differently

First published in Letters

I AM a disabled person working in the 'Welfare to Work' sector, which has been undergoing significant changes in the last few years.

I feel I must respond to Kathy Musker's letter in last week's Globe regarding the much-publicised Remploy closures.

Kathy's comment about 'this government's disgraceful closure of Remploy factories' fails to recognise that the decision was taken in 2006 that Remploy could not continue to operate as it has done in the past, through a consultation process in which I was involved, under a Labour government.

I am not a party political animal, but I feel many people are blaming the coalition government for a situation which was not of their making.

In 2011 Remploy received £23,000 of tax-payers money for every disabled person who was employed. Are we seriously suggesting that is good value for money?

Is it really appropriate to pat disabled people like me on the head and say that we're special, kept safe from the unemployment that affects millions of others in this country?

Don't get me wrong, I feel very sorry for the individuals affected by the closures, as I do for any person who is made redundant, but the supported employment model was patronising, outdated and the money could be used much more effectively.

The pressure is now on the government to demonstrate that they are doing this.

S Wrigley, by email,
Bromborough

Comments (4)

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10:41pm Wed 9 Jan 13

bickyboy says...

Its dismaying to read such a letter from someone who has experienced what it is like to be a disabled worker, but who clearly knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Patronising, to keep disabled people in employment? What utter rot. That would be why so many of them held demonstrations to try to keep their factories open, so sick of being "patronised" were they.

Cost money the employees of Remploy may well have done, but they would have put that money back into the economy when they spent their wages in the shops. Instead around ninety per cent of those so far made redundant remain on the dole, which if you want to maintain a financial tone to the conversation STILL costs the taxpayer money, but leaves the former Remploy staff with far less disposable income to support the economy.

If you want instead to discuss the issue in human terms, think of the loss of dignity and independence and the difficulty with paying the bills.

Labour may well have started this, I don't know: but the Tories certainly had the power to reverse that decision. Instead they went ahead and closed the factories and appointed an expert in the spouting of irrelevant hyperbole, Esther McVey, to paint this disaster as an "opportunity" for disabled people to be "supported".

The Remploy closures are, IMO a national disgrace.
Its dismaying to read such a letter from someone who has experienced what it is like to be a disabled worker, but who clearly knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Patronising, to keep disabled people in employment? What utter rot. That would be why so many of them held demonstrations to try to keep their factories open, so sick of being "patronised" were they. Cost money the employees of Remploy may well have done, but they would have put that money back into the economy when they spent their wages in the shops. Instead around ninety per cent of those so far made redundant remain on the dole, which if you want to maintain a financial tone to the conversation STILL costs the taxpayer money, but leaves the former Remploy staff with far less disposable income to support the economy. If you want instead to discuss the issue in human terms, think of the loss of dignity and independence and the difficulty with paying the bills. Labour may well have started this, I don't know: but the Tories certainly had the power to reverse that decision. Instead they went ahead and closed the factories and appointed an expert in the spouting of irrelevant hyperbole, Esther McVey, to paint this disaster as an "opportunity" for disabled people to be "supported". The Remploy closures are, IMO a national disgrace. bickyboy
  • Score: 0

6:27pm Sun 13 Jan 13

ordinary personn says...

I think S Wrigley has over simplified this issue by failing to acknowledge that some people with disabilities are not able to work without support and for some supported employment is the only opportunity they have to be able to work. For example, some people with learning disabilities may require support to be able to work. I don’t view that as a “pat on the head” or as patronising, I see it as an inclusive society facilitating work for those who want it and empowering them to live as independently as they choose, rather than relying on benefit payments. S Wrigley may have felt patronised, however it is unfair of them to extrapolate that to other people.

By reducing supported employment to simply its cost is far too simplistic and completely ignores its benefits. If we were to reduce everything to money very little of any worth would be done. For example, it could be argued that IVF is not good value for money, that cancer treatment where there is a low chance of survival is not good value for money. Does S Wrigley suggest therefore that they should not be available to people? As Bicky says there is a difference between costs and value.
I think S Wrigley has over simplified this issue by failing to acknowledge that some people with disabilities are not able to work without support and for some supported employment is the only opportunity they have to be able to work. For example, some people with learning disabilities may require support to be able to work. I don’t view that as a “pat on the head” or as patronising, I see it as an inclusive society facilitating work for those who want it and empowering them to live as independently as they choose, rather than relying on benefit payments. S Wrigley may have felt patronised, however it is unfair of them to extrapolate that to other people. By reducing supported employment to simply its cost is far too simplistic and completely ignores its benefits. If we were to reduce everything to money very little of any worth would be done. For example, it could be argued that IVF is not good value for money, that cancer treatment where there is a low chance of survival is not good value for money. Does S Wrigley suggest therefore that they should not be available to people? As Bicky says there is a difference between costs and value. ordinary personn
  • Score: 0

10:41am Tue 15 Jan 13

bickyboy says...

Well said, OP.

In an ideal world yes, the wider job market would be a level playing field for all; but even with anti discrimination legislation disabled people remain at a disadvantage when competing with able bodied applicants. Remploy may have seemed "patronising" to those with an idealistic view of the world, but in reality the company ensured good jobs and a community of disabled people who were happy in their work.

All cast to the four winds by cynical, uncaring politicians who are happy to trample the disabled underfoot in the name of an amoral ideology.
Well said, OP. In an ideal world yes, the wider job market would be a level playing field for all; but even with anti discrimination legislation disabled people remain at a disadvantage when competing with able bodied applicants. Remploy may have seemed "patronising" to those with an idealistic view of the world, but in reality the company ensured good jobs and a community of disabled people who were happy in their work. All cast to the four winds by cynical, uncaring politicians who are happy to trample the disabled underfoot in the name of an amoral ideology. bickyboy
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Fri 18 Jan 13

degsJames says...

Why is there virtually a whole page on today's(16th Jan 2013) paper devoted to someone who wont pay a parking fine when clearly the warden was right to issue it. I cant believe that our society and news people have become so petty as to print and believe this story is newsworthy...ITS a PARKING FINE !!!! for goodness sake , we could all find excuses why we should be penalized for breaking the law...
Why is there virtually a whole page on today's(16th Jan 2013) paper devoted to someone who wont pay a parking fine when clearly the warden was right to issue it. I cant believe that our society and news people have become so petty as to print and believe this story is newsworthy...ITS a PARKING FINE !!!! for goodness sake , we could all find excuses why we should be penalized for breaking the law... degsJames
  • Score: 0

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