Ministers asked for Remploy factories rethink

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THE UK government is being urged to restart its consultation on the future of Remploy factories after it made last-minute changes to arrangements for potential takeovers by the private sector.

Edinburgh’s Remploy factory at South Gyle – which has 28 staff, 27 of whom are disabled – is among 36 earmarked for closure in the autumn. Edinburgh North and Leith Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz said the tender process had been “a shambles” and called on UK ministers to restart the “mismanaged” consultation.

He said: “Here in Edinburgh, there are well over 11,000 people looking for work but only 2200 current vacancies, yet ministers think now is the right time to throw disabled workers out of a job. This government’s treatment of the thousands of Remploy workers has been nothing short of a disgrace, not least the secretary of state’s comments that factory staff just sit around drinking coffee.

“This last-minute change to the tender process will make it practically impossible for a serious bidder to draw up completely new plans in four weeks.”

He said the government’s review concluded the factories should be given help to develop a business plan two years before support is withdrawn, but the terms of the tender had been altered a month before the deadline.