Polio victim calls for resignation of Work and Pensions Secretary

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 May 2012

Albert Henshaw.

Albert Henshaw.

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Albert Henshaw is unhappy with Iain Duncan Smith’s comments about subsidised work for the disabled.

A disabled man from Dunkeswell has called on Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith MP to resign - after he allegedly said disabled workers should get “proper jobs” and not be employed in subsidised factories.

Mr Duncan Smith is said to have made the comment as a 15,000-signature petition, in support of retaining Remploy factories, was presented to the Government.

Albert Henshaw, 58, a polio victim, has been out of work for almost 18 months after being made redundant from social enterprise Pluss in Exeter.

He says he is outraged that Mr Duncan Smith suggested subsidised work is not a proper job and that workers spend their time “just making cups of coffee”.

“I have worked in three different Remploy factories and I can assure Mr Duncan Smith that I never sat around drinking coffee all day,” said Mr Henshaw.

“I think his comments were discriminative and patronising towards the disabled and that he should be ashamed of himself.”

Mr Henshaw, who has told Mr Duncan Smith in a letter that he hopes he becomes disabled in the future, added: “I think the decent thing for him to do would be to resign from the Government.

“Tell me how people with learning disabilities, severe physical disabilities, deafness and people with epilepsy get ‘proper jobs’?”

The Midweek Herald asked Mr Duncan Smith to comment on Mr Henshaw’s call for his resignation.

In reply, we received the following statement from the Department for Work and Pensions: “We have been absolutely clear that the £320m budget for specialist disability employment services has been protected.

“But by spending the money more effectively, we can support thousands more disabled people in work.

“That is why we have accepted the recommendation from the Sayce review, to focus support on individuals through services like Access to Work, rather than institutions like Remploy, so more disabled people can work in mainstream employment rather than segregated factories.”


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