Labour MPs for Southampton, Alan Whitehead and John Denham, have released a joint statement in response to the Government’s Written Statement on the future of Remploy:
“The Welfare Reform Bill has been law for just a week, and the Government’s first callous act is to throw hundreds of disabled people straight on the dole.
“Two-thirds of Remploy factories will now be shut and their workers, thrown into the market-place with just £2,500 to help them get another job, with no guarantees about the factories that are briefly spared.
“It is frankly outrageous that the Government has tried to smuggle out the news on the day of the Parliament’s celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.
“We will be demanding that ministers are summoned to the House of Commons to explain themselves. In the Southampton Factory on West Quay road, 19 people are set to lose their jobs (18 of those are disabled)”
“Quite simply this is the wrong plan at the wrong time. Unemployment is going through the roof. There are already 3 people chasing every vacancy in the east of the city and almost double this in the west of the city. Back to work schemes are sinking under the weight of spiralling unemployment. And the Government thinks this is a good time to sack disabled workers.
“In 2007, Chris Grayling said in Parliament: ‘Let me assure Remploy and its employees that the next Conservative Government will continue the process of identifying additional potential procurement opportunities for them and the public sector workforce’.
“Now we know the truth. People with disabilities will never trust a word they say again.”