Ernest Bevin’s Reforms for the Disabled

Ernest Bevin pic

Yesterday I managed to get hold of Francis Williams’ biography of the great trade unionist and Labour politician, Ernest Bevin, Bevin was born in Winsford in Somerset, and started his political career in Bristol, where he joined the Bristol Socialist Society, a branch of Hyndman’s Social Democratic Federation, and founded the T.G.W.U. with Harry Gosling. He later became foreign minister under Clement Attlee.

Among his achievements was legislation compelling firms to employ the disabled, and setting up the Disabled Person’s Employment Corporation to promote factories for them. Williams describes this work as follows:

This constant feeling for men and women as human beings came out strongly in the training schemes he set up to try to make sure that as far as war conditions allowed people were fitted into the sort of job they would do well and feel successful at. And it showed particularly in his anxiety to give disabled men and women the best possible chance to establish themselves in the community. One of his dearest ambitions found its expression in the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act which established a register of disabled persons – not those disabled in war service only but all disabled over sixteen – and made it compulsory for firms with over twenty persons to engage a percentage of employees from this register. He set up a Disabled Persons’ Employment Corporation to start factories for those unlikely to obtain work on their own account and launched vocational training and industrial rehabilitation courses, including a residential rehabilitation centre, to help the disabled to master new skills. In all this he emphasized that what must be kept in mind was not only that it was important for the nation to be able to command all the labour resources possible but even more the effect upon a disabled man’s own sense of status, of his feeling of being needed and of having a place in the community, if he could master new skills. Feeling so strongly about this he put this side of his Ministry’s work directly in charge of his Parliamentary Under Secretary George Tomlinson, later Minister of Education, because ” George cares for people’. (Ernest Bevin: Portrait of A Great Englishman (London: Hutchinson 1952) 224).

The contrast with the present administration is striking. Instead of caring for people, it has put the departments supposedly supporting the most vulnerable under petty sadists and tyrants, like Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey. Instead of empowering the disabled and unemployed and supporting their feelings of self-worth, they have done the exact opposite. And instead of actively supporting the employment of the disabled in workshops set up specifically for them, they have done the opposite and closed Remploy’s workshops down.

IDS touted his Universal Credit and welfare reforms as the greatest since the abolition of slavery. This spiteful and malicious individual is massively deluded. The real reformers were Bevin and his fellows. IDS, McVey and their cronies have done nothing but destroy their legacy of equality and empowerment.

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8 Responses to “Ernest Bevin’s Reforms for the Disabled”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  3. seachranaidhe1 Says:

    Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

  4. Colin M. Taylor Says:

    I remember the Remploy Factories. They were specifically set up to train and employ disabled people and gave them PAID EMPLOYMENT and a PURPOSEFor a long time they provided most of the furniture used by the Civil Service. It was well-made, practical and it LASTED,being made from proper timber rather than cheap and nasty MDF as modern civil Service furniture so often is.
    Needless to say, one of this ‘Government’s’ first actions was to close down all the Remploy Factories, thus throwing thousands of EMPLOYED disabled people onto the scrap heap, where they could then receive a good kicking from IDS and McVile.

  5. Ernest Bevin's Reforms for the Disabled | Welfa... Says:

    […] Yesterday I managed to get hold of Francis Williams' biography of the great trade unionist and Labour politician, Ernest Bevin, Bevin was born in Winsford in Somerset, and started his political car…  […]

  6. Jenny Hambidge Says:

    We are all so inclusive now, full employment and support to be employed for disabled people who needs Remploy? Using the language of the Disabled Peoples’ Movement ie that disabled people should be fully supported and included in mainstream employment-they have got rid of the separatist Remploy and left us who are disabled with……. next to nothing . Because, of course very few of us is REALLY TRULY disabled -most of us are blagging, trying it on.Those of us who are disabled would like to be employed mainstream, or …..wait for it folks …still be valued as human beings EVEN IF WE CANNOT WORK.We are still part of the human race and we make our contribution and are valued in all sorts of ways.

  7. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    The “Conservatives” have lost their way big time. The word conserve means to maintain – the implications bring something worth maintaining/conserving. Who could argue with Bevan’s excellent system. Isn’t it worth conserving? Especially from a govt whose rhetoric is that we should all be out at work. They are not conserving, they are doing the opposite. The names of all our parties/govts have been lies, for at least thirty years. If they were named according to their policies/acts, they should be called the Vandal Party, the Quisling Party, the Opportunist Self-aggrandising Swindlers Party, the Lackeys of the Obscenely Rich and Immoral Party, and last but not least, the Traitors Party.

  8. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

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