Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller has announced that 36 out of 54 Remploy factories are due to close. More than 1,500 disabled people will lose their jobs.
Remploy factories were established 66 years ago and employ mainly disabled people. The government announced that the factories that were not financially viable would close. The minister added that the government would instead invest into other schemes to help disabled people find work.
‘’In the current economic climate and with high levels of unemployment, this will be devastating news for thousands of disabled people and their families. Although, we understand that in some instances it might be necessary to close expensive and loss making factories, we do not support the urgency with which this is being done. More time and support should be allowed for Remploy’s disabled workforce to find other employment.
We welcome the proposed investment in using the money generated from the closures to tackle long term employment issues with disabled people in general. However, we believe the current Access to Work programme is not effective and not value for money as the outcomes are poor. We believe the government should be more innovative and look for viable options and alternatives for disabled people to get into work.
Livability’s self-employment programme is an example of how disabled people can be introduced into sustainable employment generating income for themselves, and the government through the payment of taxes and the removal of the need to pay benefits.
The government support for these effective programmes is currently woefully inadequate and JobCentre Plus should be tasked with an urgent review to explore other options for employment that are specifically targeted towards disabled people and their particular needs.’’