Government plans to shut 6 Remploy factories a "callous act"

168 people with disabilities will lose their jobs in the region after the Conservative-led government today announced the closure of six Remploy factories in the North East & Cumbria.

Factories in Cleator Moor & Barrow in Cumbria together with sites in Newcastle, Gateshead, Ashington and Spennymoor in the North East will shut after the government cut funding.

Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to the Government’s Written Statement on the future of Remploy, said:

 “The Welfare Reform Bill has been law for just a week, and the Government’s first callous act is to throw hundreds of disabled people straight on the dole.

“Two-thirds of Remploy factories will now be shut and their workers, thrown into the market-place with just £2,500 to help them get another job, with no guarantees about the factories that are briefly spared.

“It is frankly outrageous that the Government has tried to smuggle out the news on the day of the Parliament’s celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

 “We will be demanding that ministers are summoned to the House of Commons to explain themselves.

“Quite simply this is the wrong plan at the wrong time. Unemployment is going through the roof. Back to work schemes are sinking under the weight of spiralling unemployment. And the Government thinks this is a good time to sack disabled workers.

“In 2007, Chris Grayling said in Parliament: ‘Let me assure Remploy and its employees that the next Conservative Government will continue the process of identifying additional potential procurement opportunities for them and the public sector workforce’.

“Now we know the truth. People with disabilities will never trust a word they say again."

Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland constituency who represents Spennymoor said:

"This announcement is a real blow to the people at the Spennymmoor 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."