Minister accused on Remploy support

Minister accused on Remploy support

The Government has faced criticism over its decision to close Remploy factories

The Government has faced criticism over its decision to close Remploy factories

First published in National News © by

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, by a worker whose own job was axed.

Ms McVey defended Thursday's Government's announcement that further factories are to be shut down, putting hundreds more disabled workers' jobs at risk.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she insisted that her department had been giving "specialist support" to help those already made redundant find new jobs and had "completely reordered" what they were doing to help. Referring to the Oldham site, she said there had been 109 people working there with disabilities, with 69 coming forward to say they would like support, and 19 getting new jobs.

But Talit Karim, who was made redundant from Remploy earlier this year, said he had not been given any help.

He told the programme: "I don't know where they get that idea from. There was 115 people when I worked at Remploy Oldham - I actually did the payroll so I know. And talking to my colleagues on Facebook, she mentioned that about 19 people have got jobs, but I'd say that about five had so that's untrue."

He said there were no jobs available for disabled people so help with finding work was "unnecessary". He said: "I am seeking help. I have asked for help but I can't find a job."

Ms McVey said she was willing to speak to Mr Karim to give him any support she could. Asked to explain why the Government has protected the £320 million budget for disability employment services but is axing disabled people's jobs, the Tory minister said: "You're quite right, £320 million of the employment services protection has been protected, that is what we are spending to get people into work.

"And 2,200 people worked at the Remploy factories, but there's 6.9 million people of working age with disabilities and what we've got to do is look at what is fair and what is workable for all of those people and get those people into work."

It emerged on Thursday that a further 875 employees, including 682 disabled people, have been told they face compulsory redundancy, some hearing the news by email. Unions have attacked the decision as "cruel", warning of the difficulty disabled workers will face when they look for other jobs.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman clarified that the Oldham Remploy factory had employed 115 people, with 109 being disabled.

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