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Tue, 31 March 2020

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By Dods General Election Hub 2019

EXCL Tory adviser Andrew Sabisky suggested welfare claimants are 'less conscientious than the average person'

EXCL Tory adviser Andrew Sabisky suggested welfare claimants are 'less conscientious than the average person'
3 min read

A controversial Downing Street adviser suggested long-term welfare claimants are “less conscientious and agreeable than the average person”.

Andrew Sabisky made his comments as he heaped praise on a book which claimed long-term benefit recipients were likely to pass down "employment-resistant personalities" to their children.

Boris Johnson has already come under pressure to sack the 27-year-old contractor after he reportedly claimed black people were mentally inferior and suggested the legal enforcement of contraception could be used to stop the creation of a "permanent underclass".

PoliticsHome can also reveal that in a review of The Welfare Trap by academic Dr Adam Perkins, Mr Sabisky claimed it was an "intuitive idea" that "habitual welfare claimants were less conscientious and agreeable than the average person".

The book, which came under fire from disability groups and academics following its 2015 publication, also claimed the benefit system was "gradually warping the personality profile of the population so that more people in each generation are resistant to employment".

In a review of the book for the Adam Smith Institute in 2016, Mr Sabisky wrote: "A large body of evidence, which [Dr] Perkins reviews, supports the intuitive idea that habitual welfare claimants tend to be less conscientious and agreeable than the average person.”

Summarising the work, he added: "Such habitual claimants also tend to produce at higher rates than the general population, a pattern found across nations and time periods.

"They also seem to adjust their fertility in response to change in the generosity of welfare provision, having fewer children in time of austerity and more when governments turn on the spigot marked 'spending'.”

Meanwhile, Mr Sabisky also commended Dr Perkin's "praiseworthy boldness" for arguing the Government should "try to adjust the generosity of welfare payments to the point where habitual claimants do not have greater fertility than those customarily employed”.

In addition, he said the author "should also have argued for measures to boost the fertility of those with pro-social personalities, such as deregulation of the childcare and housing markets to cut the costs of sustainable family formation”.

Following an outpouring of criticism from fellow academics about the claims made in the book, Mr Sabisky later added a note to his review claiming he had been "unaware of a number of surprisingly basic errors" in the research.

"Suffice it to say that had I been aware of these issues at the time of writing, the review below would probably have had a somewhat different tone," he added.

It comes after a spokesperson for Mr Johnson repeatedly refused to criticise the Tory adviser for his previous comments on eugenics, saying: “The Prime Minister’s views on a range of subjects are well-publicised and well-documented.”

Number 10 have been approached for comment over the remarks.

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