Tory candidate Sally-Ann Hart has issued an apology after coming under fire for remarks she made about an article claiming that learning disabled employees should be subject to a lower minimum wage than others.
In March 2017 Hart shared an article on Facebook titled ‘Why people with learning disabilities should be allowed to work for less than the minimum wage’. She commented: “This is so right.”
Last week she defended her support of the article at an election hustings for the Hastings and Rye seat. Video footage can be seen below:
Hart commented: “It was about people with learning difficulties, about them being given the opportunity to work, because it’s to do with the happiness they have about working.
“Some people with learning difficulties, they don’t understand about money. It’s about having a therapeutic exemption and the article was in support of employing people with learning disabilities.”
Reports today said Ms Hart has apologised for any offence that was caused but insisted her comments had been taken out of context.
Posting on Facebook, she said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I was trying to emphasise that more needs to be done to help those with learning disabilities into the workplace and having properly paid work. I did not say anyone should be paid less.
“My comments have been taken out of context, but I do apologise if any offence or alarm has been caused. The number of disabled people in work has hit a record high under this government, and I am committed to doing more to supporting those with learning disabilities into good, secure jobs.”
Other Conservative Party members have made similar comments in the past. In 2014, Lord Freud suggested that people with learning disabilities should be paid £2 per hour.