Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform has been told by Kaliya Franklin, a disability rights campaigner, to “​stop bullying us”​. The BBC, reporting on a fringe event on the government’​s Work Programme at the Conservative Party Conference said Ms Franklin told the minister “​you are driving us away”​ by introducing sanctions for claimants deemed to be fit and able to work. Lord Feud stated that he would reflect on what Ms Franklin had to say but concluded that overall “​for most people it would be pretty damned good for them to have a job”​.

Other speakers at the event included Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns officer from Mind. He referred to the “​adversarial tone”​ of parts of the work programme and how the tone of the discourse “​makes it hard for some people to engage with it”​.

Responding to criticisms from G4S, a work programme provider, about the significant reduction in the number of referrals it receives, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said “​More people have joined the work programme than was predicted when contracts were signed, and the number of referrals was always projected to fall after the first year. We are taking a number of steps to address the lower than anticipated flow of employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants.”​

The BBC report can be found here.


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