HC Deb 13 July 1999 vol 335 cc161-2W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the application of the national minimum wage to disabled workers on therapeutic earnings; what representations he has received on this issue; and if he will publish them. [90717]

Mr. Ian McCartney

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 was deliberately designed to be non-discriminatory. If somebody is employed under a contract of employment or any other worker's contract as defined in the Act, he or she is entitled to the national minimum wage. I have received a number of representations on this issue. The independent Low Pay Commission concluded in its first report that "there are compelling arguments for treating disabled people in the same way as other workers". The Commission is monitoring the national minimum wage and will report by December. Officials from my Department, as well as the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security, have been in continual discussions with various organisations connected with disabled and therapeutic workers about the effective implementation for workers with disabilities and in respect of therapeutic earnings.