A Tory candidate has been filmed telling a hustings event that people with learning disabilities should be paid less than minimum wage as ‘they don’t understand money’.
Sally-Ann Hart, the Conservative candidate for Hastings and Rye, was met with jeers and boos by a horrified audience as she defended sharing an article that suggested paying disabled people less.
She was asked by a member of the audience to defend sharing the article on her Facebook page.
Ms Hart, who is also a councillor for Rother District Council, said: ‘They should be given the opportunity to work because it’s to do with the happiness they have about working.’
As the audience shouted ‘shameful’ and ‘they deserve a salary’, she responded: ‘Some people with learning disabilities, they don’t understand about money.’
During her response she repeated: ‘It’s about the happiness to work.’
She added: ‘It’s about having a therapeutic exemption and the article was in support of employing people with learning disabilities, that is what it was.’
A member of the audience was heard shouting: ‘I’m autistic, and I want to get paid for the work I do’ while another man shouted ‘how patronising, how dare you’.
It is understood the article being referred to was published by The Spectator in 2017 and written by Rosa Monckton, whose daughter has Downs Syndrome.
She founded a charity, Team Domenica, and in her article spoke about a ‘therapeutic exemption’ to the minimum wage, to help people with learning disabilities find and maintain work.
Jo Gracie, executive director of Team Domenica, said: ‘Rosa’s views remain separate from the charity’s and I would like to clarify that Team Domenica has not called for, or campaigned for a therapeutic exemption.
‘All of our candidates in paid work are paid the minimum wage or above.’
She said Ms Monckton is in an ‘all-day meeting today’ and unfortunately unavailable to speak but made clear ‘she has not said that people with a learning disability should be paid less because they don’t understand money’.
Metro.co.uk has also learnt that Sally-Ann Hart has been a governor at Ark Hastings Primary Academies – which support children with learning disabilities and special educational needs – for six years.
A spokesperson for the schools said: ‘All of our governors are volunteers and come from different backgrounds with different views that don’t necessarily reflect those of the school.
‘They are united in their goal of working together with our schools to ensure that all of our pupils have access to the best possible education and opportunities in life.’
James Taylor, Head of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs at disability equality charity, Scope, said: ‘These opinions are outdated, inexcusable, and should be consigned to history.
‘Disabled people should be paid equally for the work that they do.