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Discrimination Against Disabled Employers

Author: Jim Elder-Woodward

The following letter was written in response to a letter from David Cameron to all employers. It turns out that this latest government initiative provides a subsidy to many employers but not to disabled people employing personal assistants.

David Cameron
Prime Minister
10, Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA

FOR THE PERSONAL ATTENTION OF DAVID CAMERON

Your ref: 01a/0504937/307/8010DWCYC01134

Dear Mr Cameron

I am in receipt of the enclosed, undated letter/circular, with the above reference, and signed by your good self. I have to say, I found it to be rather insensitive and insulting.

You refer, in a rather self-congratulatory manner, to the Government’s introduction of the new Employment Allowance, which reduces employers’ NICs by up to £2,000 per year. This, you say, would give me, an employer of five part-time people, a “cashback on the cost of jobs that (I) can choose how to spend”. You conclude by urging me to follow the simple procedure of applying by going on-line at: 

https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance

After taking up your generous invitation, I discovered that I cannot claim the Employment Allowance, because I “employ someone for personal, household or domestic work, such as a nanny, au pair, chauffeur, gardener, care support worker”. See:

https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance-up-to-2000-off-your-class-1-nics#ee

As a disabled person I employ five Personal Assistants to help me carry out the personal and social activities throughout the day, which I require to do to participate, both socially and economically as an equal citizen of the UK. As such I am realising your own government’s policy to give disabled people ‘choice and control’ over their own lives. See: 

http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/odi-projects/independent-living-strategy.php

However, along with the savage cuts in social care provision and increases in social care charging, disabled people, like me, who employ their own “care support workers”, are now being excluded from the benefits other employers are offered. Not only that, but from April 6th we will no longer be able to claim reimbursement for Statutory Sick Pay following the abolition of the Percentage Threshold Scheme.

We are all familiar with the neoliberal Nozickian political ideology of the Government’s welfare reforms, which has consequentially engendered such general public negativity towards disabled people.

However, disabled people who employ “care support workers” not only do so to enable their active participation in the socio-economic life of their families and geographic communities, but to create job opportunities for others who may otherwise rest alongside them on the unemployment registers. Such fiscal disincentives will do nothing to support their endeavours; and much to continue the misery they are forced to experience with the roll-out of your ideologically driven welfare reforms.

It should also be noted that some disabled people prefer to engage a ‘care agency’ rather than directly employ someone themselves. This has encouraged the sprouting of many private companies throughout the country to meet the new market demands for such a service. I assume these exclusions will also affect their profits, so presumably they will leave the market, thus reducing the ‘choice’ of disabled people – a basic facet of your Government’s independent living strategy.

I, therefore, urge you to instruct your Treasury to reconsider its repressive and discriminatory attacks on the well-being and welfare of disabled people; alongside the private profit of those who endeavour to support such.

Yours sincerely

Jim Elder-Woodward

P.S.  I have sent copies of this letter to my local MP, Gemma Doyle, who has already been notified of this issue; and my friend and former colleague Margaret Curran, MP, who is also aware of my concerns.


The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.

Discrimination Against Disabled Employers © Jim Elder-Woodward 2014.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.