A disability rights campaigner has told a minister at the Conservative conference to “stop bullying us”. Kaliya Franklin, 36, spoke out at a fringe event examining the government’s welfare to work programme.
Ms Franklin, who has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and uses a mobility scooter, confronted the welfare reform minister Lord Freud. She told him “you are driving us away” by introducing more sanctions on those deemed able to work by government. After having a one-on-one chat with Ms Franklin, 36, after the meeting Lord Freud said he “heard what she had to say” and would reflect on it.
The Work Programme is the government’s main scheme for helping people who are unemployed back into work. Under the terms of the programme, contractors from the public, private and voluntary sectors are paid a fee, usually £400, when the job centre refers an unemployed person to them, typically someone who has been looking for work for a year. Further, larger payment can then be made when a person has been in sustainable employment for up to two years. The harder the company has to work to find and keep someone in a job, the more money they get. At the core of the scheme is the idea of payment by results, so there is a financial incentive for providers to do their best to get the long-term unemployed back into the job market.
Lord Freud said his overall perspective was that “for most people it would be pretty damned good for them to have a job”. Most of the speakers at the fringe event were broadly supportive of the government’s scheme and its motivations but said there were still practical problems that needed resolving.
Source: BBC NEWS
8th October 2012