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‘We don’t want to punish the unemployed and disabled’ claims Welsh Secretary

23 Nov 2023 5 minute read
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, at the Conservative Party Conference in October. Photo Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Martin Shipton

The UK Government has no intention of punishing the unemployed or disabled people, according to Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies.

Instead, the increase in working from home since the pandemic would make it easier for them to find jobs.

The Westminster government has been strongly criticised by opposition politicians and groups representing benefit claimants following confirmation in the Autumn Statement that unemployed and disabled people would be “helped” into work.

But Mr Davies told Nation.Cymru: “We don’t want to cause problems for people – we want to help them back into work and I believe that the great majority of people who are unemployed want a job. I also believe that many disabled people would like to work, but that up until now in many cases it has been difficult for them to do so. But the huge increase in working from home has made it easier for unemployed and disabled people to get jobs and we want to encourage them to take up such opportunities.”

Helping

When it was put to Mr Davies that there had been many documented instances where private companies contracted to the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out capability tests on severely disabled people and decided they were capable of working when medical evidence suggested otherwise, he said: “This isn’t about punishing people – it’s about helping them get back into work. Of course there are people who are severely disabled and who can’t work, but there are many who would like the opportunity to get a job and that’s what we’ll offer them.”

Mr Davies said that every unemployed person would get the promise of a job offer. Asked whether people would be sanctioned and lose benefits if they failed to accept the job they were offered, he said: “Virtually every unemployed person will be keen to get work and they will be offered every help in terms of retraining. Only in circumstances where people have turned down training or a job offer will they be at risk of having their benefits cut.

“We are showing our commitment to improve the lives of the poorest people in our communities by raising the living wage to £11.44 an hour and by helping people off benefits and into work.”

Taxation

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have made great play of the reduction in National Insurance contributions for those in work from 12% of their salary to 10%. Yet the government’s own spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, has pointed out that the overall level of taxation will increase because of the failure to increase income tax bands in line with inflation.

Asked about this, Mr Davies said: “I haven’t had a chance to study all the figures yet, but I do know that the cut in NI contributions will make people better off in the short term.

“We are doing what we can to help people, bearing in mind that the government has had to spend £100bn on combatting the impact of Covid and paid half people’s fuel bills as a result of the increases brought about by the war in Ukraine.”

Mr Davies insisted it was “nonsensical” for opposition parties to claim that the UK economy had been crashed by former Prime Minister Liz Truss and the Budget of her shortlived Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. He said: “She was only in office for a month. I don’t accept that at all.”

Asked about comments made by the Welsh Government’s Finance Minister Rebecca Evans, who said that if money allocated by the Treasury to Wales had risen in line with inflation since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, the Welsh budget would include £3bn per year more, Mr Davies said: “The austerity policies we followed wouldn’t have been necessary if the previous Labour government hadn’t spent money irresponsibly. And today, despite pleading poverty, they find no difficulty in spending millions on the introduction of the 20mph speed limit or on expanding the Senedd so it contains an extra 36 politicians.”.

Labour denies that it should be held responsible for the global recession that began in 2008 and asserts that the money spent on the 20mph speed limit will save millions by reducing accidents and that the cost of increasing the size of the Senedd would be very small in comparison with the size of the devolved budget.

Mr Davies denied that the Autumn Statement had been designed with an early general election in mind, saying: “The current term of office runs to the end of 2024 and I am assuming that the election will take place towards the end of next year.The decision is down to the PM, though. When they are deciding how to vote at the general election, I hope people take into account the huge sums we have spent during the Covid crisis.”

Mr Davies also said that the development of floating offshore wind turbines off the south Wales coast, together with the creation of Port Talbot and Milford Haven as freeports, held out the prospect of seeing thousands of jobs created which could offset steel job losses at Port Talbot.


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Doctor Trousers
2 months ago

“we don’t want to punish the unemployed and disabled, we just want them to die”

Katy
Katy
2 months ago

Freeports (where there won’t be any pesky rights for workers) are going to be staffed by people who were offered “training and employment opportunities”…no doubt disabled people will be handling the customer services of companies operating in the “freeports” and the mentally ill be made homeless, which in itself is becoming more and more criminalised (in that homeless people are often hassled by police and other more nefarious organisation)…but it’s okay, we have the solution for that too cry the Tories, a privatised prison “service”, where rapists and stalkers (crimes largely committed against women) are released so political prisoners can… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
2 months ago

It is Eugenics by financial elimination.

Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago

He says this with a straight face? Tell that to people abused by the DWP.
and freeports, really? Rip off and the people that make money will not be the locals.

gonna be a spring election? Get your postal votes sorted early.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
2 months ago

They’ve got a funny way of showing it.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago

“We don’t want to punish the unemployed and disabled” says Pinocchio. “But we’re going to anyway. They bought it in themselves by not making money for us”

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

The Tory’s have been in power 13 years, and the article below shows thousands of sick people died after being found fit for work by the DWP. The figures are from the Tory gov own investigation, and has been happening for a decades. They dont care.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.thenational.scot/news/23454531.dwp-errors-contributed-peoples-deaths-damning-report-finds/&ved=2ahUKEwjblbCyjNuCAxXE_rsIHUmHAWUQFnoECBUQAQ&usg=AOvVaw2G1BtBtNXKO2jE5W88i6PZ

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Just 13 years? By my calculations, the Tories have been in power for 44 years from when Thatcher won the 1979 General Election. The years supposedly ‘New Labour’ between 1997 and 2010 were simply Tory neoliberalism with different PR. Starmer will be even less different in approach than Blair was, and is, if anything, even more of a Tory. When it comes to considering the damage being inflicted by the current Westminster government, and which will continue to be inflicted by the next one, it leaves me wondering why so many people thought that Corbyn would have been worse. But… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

Oh, sure David. You don’t want to “punish” the unemployed and disabled just demonise them like you have the Gypsy community of Monmouth. Vile political degenerate of the lowest order! Would you trust a word he says when in 2016 promised the people of Wales in an interview with BBC Wales that if we voted for Brexit wouldn’t financially lose out but benefit. A man who once admitted as a former AM that he only learned Welsh to bait Plaid Cymru in the Senedd chamber debates. A treacherous lowlife that arrogantly said that Wales should not receive one penny of… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Y Cymro
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
2 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

‘Cancer’ is a word I use to describe the Tories and I will not apologise for it. They literally eat away, erode and destroy the very fabric of society. The best we can hope for in any election is that we manage to cut out the cancer of the Tories and also not allow the smaller ‘tumours’ (Brit Nat parties) to return.

Bethan
Bethan
2 months ago

Is Westminster actually a criminal organisation? I mean, really. In legal terms. Could it be tried as such? The charges that would be brought down upon them if it was would be as thick as the phone book.

I’m disgusted… again.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 months ago

Why is there this fixation with the unemployed considering the Tory are always boasting about the levels of employment in the country? Even if they got every single person into work it wouldn’t help the economy or their position, they are still going to take a hammering next year. Besides cruelty eventually has a tendency to come back and bite you on the arse.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
2 months ago

Apologies to anyone who is eating. This guy vomits words. He speaks? He spews! A terrible affliction. If the 2011 onwards demonisation and destruction of tens of thousands of lives had not happened, he may just get this bile past us but we are heading for another round of work capability assessments pegged at 100% to put thousands more in their graves. Not in my name. Pure filth at work. This must focus the mind of every single one of us. If you do not already have the money to see out your life without needing to do another days’… Read more »

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