Dear David Lidington,
I am writing to you today with great concern regarding recent comments made by Lord Freud at the Birmingham conservative party conference. The comments made said that some disabled workers "were not worth the minimum wage" and should be paid £2 an hour.
This is alarming and sends out a message of discouragement, exclusion, and partisanship from a man in a very high and influential position.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I am disabled. I was diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy when I was 23 years old. At this time I was a motor vehicle engineer which was very much a physical job that I would have to give up because I would get weaker and weaker. I knew I needed to be in an industry where I could help myself or at least see progression with treatments and after 17 years that is what I now do. I trained and re-educated myself to work in the pharmaceutical industry. It has been a very long and hard road but I’m here. The documentation and media that gets processed through my company and the assistance we give clients contributes towards treatments, medication and medical devices to help with so many different conditions and illnesses. I process daily, paperwork that helps with epilepsy, cancers, stroke, arthritis and so many more illnesses and conditions.
On more than one occasion I was told that I could stop work and claim benefits such as incapacity. This could have been a very easy option for me: benefits, council house, and a reduction in council tax, all at the cost of the tax payer?
Luckily it wasn’t my young ears that heard and took on Lord Freud’s comments, luckily I wasn’t discouraged and I empowered myself to work and help. Attitudes like Lord Freud’s need to be eradicated. Like anyone in society, surely everyone should be encouraged and supported into work and the minimum wage should be exactly what it says it is, everyone included?
I look forward to your reply.