Minister under attack for Portsmouth Remploy closure

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DISABILITY minister Esther McVey has been accused of not giving enough support to disabled workers who have lost their jobs due to the closure of Remploy factories.

Ministers announced earlier this year that a number of Remploy factories would close, arguing that the budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively.

Thirty-four factories have ceased operations since then and are in the process of closing, but the future of a further 18 sites remained unclear.

As reported in yesterday’s News, the Portsmouth factory in Fratton is now among those facing closure – should no other business take it over.

Ms McVey is insisting that an £8m fund to give the disabled ex-Remploy staff specialist help in finding new jobs is adequate.

But Nick Durrant, shop steward at the Portsmouth factory, said those who lose their jobs find it extremely hard to get another one.

He added: ‘Those who left in August – some 1,500 people – only 35 have found employment.

‘I think that says a great deal about this process and the thinking behind it.’

Unions have attacked the decision as ‘cruel’, warning of the difficulty disabled workers will face when they look for other jobs.

Workers at risk of redundancy are in 15 Remploy factories, employing 682 disabled people across the UK.