Letter: Workfare unfair to the handicapped

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Government intends to tell those who have been unemployed for longer than two years what work to take ("Workfare scheme will target dole cheats", 8 November), and this may include working with the elderly and the mentally handicapped. The Government's stated intention is that they will do domestic work. However, they will inevitably be drawn into caring tasks.

The last people I want working with my daughter, who is mentally handicapped and dependent on others for all her needs, are those who have to be coerced into this work, and who have no interest or aptitude for it. My daughter and all those like her need skilled, well-trained and motivated people to care for them. As it is, social services where I live in Surrey allow anybody to attend to the personal needs of vulnerable adults without any investigation into their suitability. This sort of care is of course cheap. The new scheme kills two birds with one stone. It manipulates the unemployment figures and makes the cost of looking after the most dependent less expensive.

COLIN WHEELER

Farnham, Surrey

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