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Philip Hammond: It would be fun to say he’s such an enormous coward that he’s pictured running away from the wrath of the UK’s disabled people but the truth is, he really couldn’t care less about anybody but himself [Image: Getty Images Europe].


People with disabilities just can’t get a decent chance in Tory Britain – if the DWP isn’t trying to push them into inappropriate jobs, Spreadsheet Phil is blaming them for low productivity in the economy.

The real reason for the productivity disaster is well-known – thanks to numbskull Tory policies, it is cheaper to employ people on zero-hours or part-time contracts with no holiday or sick pay than it is to invest in improved equipment.

But a workforce on insulting pay is a workforce without motivation; it is an unhealthy workforce due to stress, tiredness, and poor nutrition; it is a workforce too busy coping with its own survival to care about productivity or profit.

Spreadsheet Phil doesn’t want you to know about that, though. He needed a distraction, and people who are sick and/or disabled have served the Tories well in the past.

So, after demonising people on disability benefits as scroungers and skivers, the Tories are demonising disabled people in work, saying they are holding the rest of us back.

What next? Will they just go the whole hog and get the gas chambers and cremation ovens out?

Well, no – because they don’t have to. They’re already pushing disabled people to the grave with a benefit assessment system that worsens their illnesses or physical disabilities, and causes so much stress that it harms their mental health.

Result: People either die because of their disabilities, or they commit suicide – an end that the Tories find uncomfortably easy to dismiss as having no single cause, even though the “why haven’t you killed yourself yet?” question in benefit assessment interviews is a rather obvious nudge.

Labour’s Debbie Abrahams has already condemned Mr Hammond’s ignorant and inflammatory remark.

She said: “It is disgraceful that Philip Hammond is scapegoating disabled people for a productivity crisis created by the Conservatives’ failed economic policies.

“This is coming from a Government that has forced disabled people to pay the price of their failed austerity agenda, including by cutting measures that help disabled people into the workforce and scrapping their own manifesto commitment on halving the disability employment gap.

“We should be increasing disabled people’s access to employment, not denigrating their contributions. The Chancellor should apologise immediately.”

Yes he should – putting the blame for the productivity drop firmly where it belongs: On failing Tory economic policies.

Did you notice that he also seems to have slipped a whopper of a lie into his comments?

He blamed the productivity plunge on increased numbers of disabled people in the workforce but Ms Abrahams has pointed out that the Tories have cut efforts to get more people with disabilities into work, and scrapped their own manifesto commitment to halve the disability employment gap.

There cannot be both more and fewer disabled people in the workforce at the same time. Mr Hammond is caught out in a contradiction.

So I’d like to see his resignation too.

Asked about the fall in UK productivity reported in Hammond’s budget speech, the Chancellor told the Treasury Select Committee it could be down to the number of “marginal” groups in the workforce.

“It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”

Source: Philip Hammond blames Britain’s low economic productivity on working disabled people – Mirror Online


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