Hope for Scottish units as UK Government cut Remploy funding

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The SNP has welcomed news that full bids are being sought for three Scottish Remploy sites at threat of closure.

Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, confirmed the Remploy factories in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Springburn are subject to further consultation.

However there was no such good news for staff and workers at the Remploy factory in Motherwell which is set to close with the loss of 22 jobs.

The Motherwell site is one of a number of factories across the UK at risk of closure.  The factories employ disabled people and around half the UK’s 54 sites are thought to be at risk as a result of a decision by the UK Government to cut funding.

There was hope for 89 working at three Remploy factories in Edinburgh, Springburn and Aberdeen, which are among nine units that have attracted bids from private enterprises keen to keep them open as going concerns.

SNP MSP for North East Scotland, Mark McDonald, who has now written to Maria Miller inviting her to visit the Remploy site in Aberdeen, said:

“The news that full bids are being sought for the Aberdeen site is welcome news for the staff who have worked so hard to develop the social enterprise model at the site.

“At the same time it is incredibly disappointing to learn of other factory closures. The Aberdeen site offered the UK Government an opportunity to learn lessons and apply them elsewhere.

“It is now vital Maria Miller visits the site before any decision is made for Aberdeen – an invitation she has thus far chosen to ignore.

“I hope now she will be able to may find the time to visit the site and learn about the work being done there which could be replicated in other Remploy sites.”

Marco Biagi, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central which covers the Edinburgh Remploy site, said:

“Today’s announcement follows concerted efforts by the Scottish Government working with Scottish Enterprise, social enterprise partners, trade unions and Remploy staff to support continued employment and help those who wish to develop proposals for the sites.

“This is encouraging news for staff at Remploy Edinburgh and I hope a positive future for this site can be found.

“The continuation of jobs for Remploy staff is a priority and it is extremely disappointing the UK Government does not seem to share that outlook.

“With three out of four Scottish sites receiving real bids to keep them open as going concerns there must be questions as to why the UK Government threatened them with closure in the first place

“With the bid that is being considered, I hope Westminster will ensure the best outcome for the disabled workers who depend on their employment there.”