Paralympians who spend their days idle in a wheelchair when not training for London 2012 should stop taking the benefits system for all they can get, an outraged Iain Duncan Smith claimed last night.
Rounding on disabled yet incredibly athtletic “scroungers”, the Work and Pensions Secretary outlined a series of proposals which could see Paralympians stripped of their Jobseekers Allowance, assuming they are claiming it in the first place.
Those close to Duncan Smith claim he is of the view that ‘if you can compete in the 400m Hurdles with a prosthetic limb, you can jolly well get on a bus and make it down to the jobcentre, provided it’s the kind of bus that has ability to reach down to kerb level assisted by a state-of-the-art suspension system.’
And for Paralympians who fail to provide evidence that they have been actively seeking employment, the Coalition have prepared a series of drastic measures, which include clamping wheelchair-bound athletes as they turn up at the Olympic Stadium and placing overloaded skips in disabled parking spaces.
Duncan Smith said, ‘Yesterday I saw a disabled archer hit a bullseye from a distance of fifty metres. Are you telling me that person needs a guide dog? OK, I later learned he has MS and the Labrador belongs to his sister, but that’s not the point.’
Paralympians, meanwhile, insist they are incredibly hurt by the proposals. Sprinter Adam Watts said ‘I was a soldier in Afghanistan when I had my leg blown off. Like the majority of disabled athletes I applied for a job as a torch-bearer but was told I wasn’t disabled enough. It’s a Catch-22. ‘
But last night an unrepentant Duncan Smith had news for athletes compromised by a range of disabilities who see the Olympics as a free lunch or high-energy carbohydrate drink.
‘Time and time again we hear disableds using the sorry excuse that competing in this illustrious event takes up all of their time. Well, I’ve got news for them. If you’re well enough to propel yourself around in a modified go-kart relying solely on the power of your upper arms, then you’re well enough to retrain as a plumber.’
‘Providing it’s not cash in hand.’