Business Disability Forum defends right of people with learning disabilities to equal pay


In response to comments made by the Conservative candidate for Hastings and Rye on Friday, the Business Disability Forum has defended people with learning disabilities’ right to equal pay.

The comments made by Sally Ann Hart suggest that people with learning disabilities should be paid less.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said: “Business Disability Forum, while remaining politically neutral, has a moral duty to address comments made by Sally Ann Hart, a candidate running for a seat in Hastings and Rye in the election this week.

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“During a hustings event on Friday, Hart addressed the audience by stating that people with learning disabilities should be paid less, because they “don’t understand money”. Hart said that a “therapeutic exemption” was the reason for her comment and that we should concentrate on the “happiness of work” that employment can bring to people with a learning disability.”

Hart has since insisted her comments have been taken out of context.

She continued: “Business Disability Forum believes every single citizen who is employed should be paid the salary of the job that they do. It is not enough to say that a therapeutic wage helps disabled people work. Moving disabled people into work on conditions that are not equal to people who are not disabled might move towards closing a disability employment gap based on figures and statistics, but it won’t help us move towards a fair, inclusive, anti-discriminatory employment system – and we must therefore avoid it.”

Concluding: “It also overlooks the fact that someone with a learning disability may be the best candidate for a job. People with a learning disability pay the same for goods and services as their non-disabled peers. They have the right to – and deserve to – be paid on the same terms.”

AMP reported on the story on Monday.

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Alex Douglas

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