Tom Keighley

Member Article

Remploy closures impact North East

The Government has proposed to close 36 of its 54 Remploy factories, including the facilities in Newcastle, Gateshead and Spennymoor in County Durham.

Maria Miller, Minister for disabled people has said the Remploy board proposed the closure of the sites as they were unlikely to achieve financial independence, and the money should be used to support disabled people into more mainstream employment.

The move follows the recommendations of the Sayce Review, which reported in June 2011 that spending should be directed to maximise support, rather than subsidise organisations such as Remploy.

58 workers at the Newcastle plant will be made redundant; along with 41 workers at Spennymoor and 11 at Gateshead. Nationally, around 1,752 workers will face compulsory redundancy.

The Spennymoor and Gateshead factories provide packaging services, and commercial furniture is manufactured at Newcastle.

Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland commented: “This announcement is a real blow to the people at the Spennymoor factory, who have worked so hard over the past 5 years to keep the facility open.

“Remploy did fantastic work at the site and it’s a crying shame that this will now come to an end.

“Frankly, Maria Miller’s decision to close the factory was callous and, what’s more, it was cowardly of her not to have come to the House of Commons to announce the closure.

“My thoughts are with the Remploy employees and their families during this difficult time.”

A statement from Remploy said: The Board of Remploy welcomes the assurances that the Department is emphatically committed to ensuring that a comprehensive package of support is available which is designed to suit employees’ personal needs and help any employees who are made redundant.

“The Board understands that this is a top priority for the Department and that the comprehensive package will be as wide-ranging as possible to ensure that employees are appropriately supported.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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