“I think,” he says, in the tone you’d use if someone was asking you this question a lot, “we’re doing the right thing. There are two million children growing up in this country in households where no one works. There are six or seven million people of working age who, for one reason or another, are on benefits.
“Do you have the potential to return to work?” states Chris Grayling, Minister for Employment. It seems a very reasonable question, and when the idea of Employment Support Allowance was initially mooted during the mid noughties at a time of high employment and economic boom it was an admirable aim.
Over the past six weeks I’ve had mixed feelings towards the proposals to close 36 Remploy factories, leading to compulsory redundancies for 1,518 disabled workers. On the one hand, I’ve always been against sheltered workplaces which feel to me like a relic from a bygone age. But on the other hand, the government’s timing of this move, coinciding with high unemployment, cuts to support funding and the erosion of employment rights feels very unfair and misjudged.
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