ISHERWOOD: LET US GIVE HOPE TO REMPLOY WORKERS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 July 2012 08:15

 

REMPLOY employees affected by the closure of factories in Wales  must be given hope, North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood  has said this week.

 

Responding to Tuesday’s Statement on Remploy by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Isherwood, stressed that unlike the last round of Remploy factory closures, under a UK Labour Government, an £8 million comprehensive package has been provided to support every individual disabled member of staff affected for up to 18 months to help their transition from sheltered to mainstream employment.

 

He also spoke of the fact that the £320 million budget for specialist disability employment services has been fully protected and that an additional £15 million has been added to the Access to Work programme, which, even before that additional funding, had helped 1,500 disabled people in Wales into work.

 

 

Speaking in the Chamber he said: “Rather than the universal doom and gloom that suggests to disabled people that they are on the heap because of the economic situation, why do you not acknowledge the fact that 20,000 disabled people were helped into employment last year, including 2,000 disabled people in Wales? Let us give them hope, and let us recognise that 251 disabled people were helped back into work in Bridgend, 163 in Rhondda and 220 in Wrexham, in what was a difficult financial year, as you know, at a time when there were not many jobs around. So, let us work together with the (DWP) Access to Work programme, with the (DWP) Disability Ambassador for Wales and with the measures that you have announced to ensure, on a joint governmental basis, that these people and many thousands more get the support into work that they need and deserve.”

 

Mr Isherwood referred to private sector bids submitted for some of the Remploy factories affected by closure and to interest expressed in purchasing products from Remploy, such as from Wrexham County Borough Council.

 

He asked what interest the Welsh Government has shown  in purchasing products from Remploy and was keen to know how the Remploy Board reached  its decisions.

 

He said: “There was no UK Government discretion in this process—it was the Remploy Board that made the final decisions, based on a process that included advice from an independent panel with representation from a range of expertise, including a Welsh Government appointed member. Perhaps the Welsh Government could tell us what its member on the panel gave as the reason why Remploy decided not to accept those private sector bids. I would have liked to consider that the Wrexham factory on my patch, and others elsewhere, might have had a viable future. As I say, that was not a UK Government decision.” 

 

He added: “It must be emphasised that the decisions regarding Remploy factories follow an independent review of employment support for disabled people carried out by Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of the Disability Rights Organisation RADAR. Politicians should not accuse other politicians of base motives when this is the case and these actions are supporting thousands more disabled people into work.

“The five factories in Wales now scheduled to close, plus the two for which bids are being invited, had 272 employees combined, whereas the UK government’s Access to Work programme supported 2000 disabled people in Wales into employment last year alone.”

 

 

Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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