The Big Question

Richard West – Inspired Services
How could work and pensions secretary David Blunkett, as a blind person, call on disabled people to switch off daytime TV and go out and get a job? It is very insulting. There are many black and ethnic minority people with learning difficulties who find it especially hard to get jobs. His attitude is discriminatory and unsupportive.

Angie Lawrence – Single mother
There are people on benefits who are fit to work but who choose not to. Some are taking the benefits system for a ride, but many people would be worse off financially if they went into paid employment.  What needs to be addressed is the minimum wage. People become frustrated when the pay they receive hardly meets their basic requirements.

Len Smith – Gypsy activist
I don’t think the benefits system could be described as “crackers”, particularly by Blunkett, who was less than forthcoming about a free rail ticket I recall. I would like to see people who fiddle benefits being coerced back to work, but not if the methods to achieve this bring undue pressures or worry to genuine claimants, particularly the old or vulnerable.

Jean Stogdon – Grand-parents Plus
The aim is to get more people into work, but I’m worried this process will be insensitive to disabled and vulnerable people. You can’t just make the blanket claim that everyone is sitting at home watching daytime TV. More should be done about prejudice in workplaces before we ask more disabled people to work.

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