The Scottish Government is considering measures to assist specialist employers of disabled people amid “a steady erosion of supported employment by the UK Government”.
Enterprise minister Fergus Ewing expressed ministers’ “deep disappointment” at the UK Government’s closure of factories run by supported business Remploy, costing 111 Scottish jobs and putting a further 251 at risk.
He said: “What we are seeing is a steady erosion of supported employment by the UK Government. In today’s labour market finding a job under any circumstances can be challenging. For disabled people that is doubly so.
“It is certainly true that most disabled people in Scotland do not work in a supported business, but it is also true that, for some, working in a supported environment may be the only chance of employment they can access.”
Mr Ewing added: “During the course of this parliament we will introduce a Sustainable Procurement Bill. In consultation, we want to consider what further measures might be appropriate to assist supported businesses in Scotland as part of that Bill.”
Labour MSP Helen Eadie said she welcomed a lot of Mr Ewing’s comments, however she urged him to act quickly.
She said: “This requires urgency. This axe will fall on July 4 for the people (from Remploy) who are sitting in the public gallery this afternoon. I think that no matter who is to blame here, my government in the past or the Tory Government, the reality is these are people who will not have jobs after that date.”