Remploy has operated in the UK since shortly after World War Two. It gave people of a warling age the chance to be employed in a suitable working environment. It offered employment to a wide range of worker from an equally wide range of age groups. Now this looks set to change.
Remploy is government funded. As we all know the UK Coalition government are not looking at an unlimited supply of money but the situation is not as dire as we are often led to believe. It is more about priorities and where the government want the money to go. In the last few weeks David Cameron has been considering a tax break for working women to be able to employ house cleaners. The fact that he was even considering such a tax break shows how out of touch he is and similarly shows that there is money to play with when wanted.
Currently Remploy have 54 factories across the UK. According to today's report 36 of these will be closed. This will mean the loss of 1,700 posts. Compulsory redundancies will be made.
At a time when the UK government are effectively cutting disability payments this news is yet another blow to a vulnerable section of society. At the moment Remploy is the second largest employer of people with disabilities in the UK.
Money has already been wasted on a government commissioned review . According to the Minister responsible there will be policy changes which will result in better opportunities. It does however sound like it will be more "privatisation" by this sham of a government.
The opportunities will be in "proven employment programmes" . According to the Minister these will be much better and will benefit more people. She said, "The Government will reduce its current subsidy to Remploy from the beginning of the new financial year so that we cease funding factories which make significant losses year after year and restrict funding to those factories which might have a prospect of a viable future without Government subsidy." She went on to say, "the £320m budget for disability employment" has been protected.
Remploy has said that it will consider all alternatives but has not ruled out compulsory redundancies. It is expected that three-quarters of Remploy's 2,700 employees will lose their jobs.
Opinion: Yet again we have bad news brought about by the UK government's will to privatise whatever they can get their hands on. One has to wonder who will be at the helm of the companies set to replace Remploy? That is left to your imagination but it is not a hard one to guess. If it is a case that Remploy needs updating, then update it. Scrapping a place of employment that has been so important for so many years is nonsense. Setting up the alternatives will cost more than they could be worth.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog