Commission response to Philip Davies MP comments

17 June 2011

In response to Mr Philip Davies comment that disabled people could be paid less than the minimum wage, a spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

"This is nonsense. It shows a total lack of understanding of the abilities and aspirations of Mr Davies' disabled constituents. Is he arguing that Richard Branson, by definition, is less productive than people who don't have dyslexia? Or that Winston Churchill was unfit to run the country because of his depression?

"Disabled people have the right to work and to be treated equally in the workplace. As long as people like Mr Davies only see the disability, not the ability, the barriers in society will remain for disabled people.

"Evidence from our inquiry into disability-related harassment suggests that the perpetrators view disabled people as worth less than other people. We will be writing to Mr Davies in due course to remind him of his responsibilities and will be inviting him to attend an evidence session for this inquiry."

Ends

Notes to editors:

  • Across Britain, the employment rates of disabled adults are very low with only around 50% employed compared to 79% of non-disabled adults (a difference of nearly 30% in employment rates).
  • When disabled people are employed, they are significantly more likely than non-disabled people to work part-time.
  • In 2009, 33% of disabled people were in full-time employment, compared to 60% of non-disabled people. The reasons for this (personal choice or discrimination) are not clear.