Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Monday, 17 December 2012

Ministerial statement on Remploy

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing announced that employers who give permanent jobs to redundant Remploy workers would be able to claim £5,000 from the Scottish government, during a ministerial statement on 18 December 2012.

Remploy, which employs disabled people across the country, had its funding withdrawn by the UK government earlier this year.

Mr Ewing told MSPs more had to be done for those Remploy employees who had already been made redundant.

He said: "That is why I have decided to offer a recruitment incentive of up to a total of £5,000 to employers who recruit disabled ex-Remploy workers in Scotland into permanent jobs.

"This funding will be offered to employers to help meet any additional costs of recruiting and training Remploy workers.

"It must not duplicate any of the existing support package in place from DWP."

Mr Ewing added the funding would be available to employers in the private, public and third sectors., as well as to any Remploy workers setting up their own social enterprise, co-operative or who enter self-employment.

Earlier this month the UK government announced hundreds more workers at factories which provide employment for disabled people were at risk of losing their jobs as it detailed the closure of 15 more Remploy factories, including at least three in Scotland.

A further 875 Remploy employees, including 682 disabled people, face compulsory redundancy.

An earlier round of closure announcements included Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Springburn and Motherwell.

Now hundreds more workers face the axe with textiles factories at Dundee, Stirling and Clydebank earmarked to close.

Remploy hope to sell two marine textiles businesses at Leven and Cowdenbeath but it has conceded that their employees also risk losing their jobs.

Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said there was "much in the statement with which we can agree" and paid tribute to the Remploy workers and their trade unions, but went on to ask why the Scottish government's support "fell well short" of the Welsh support package.

Mr Ewing replied the payment was a "fallback position" with the primary objective being to ensure Remploy workers continue in the work they don and not become redundant at all.

Mary Scanlon, the Scottish Conservative MSP, asked what progress had been made on business opportunities for work wear contracts and if other social enterprises employing disabled people would receive the support being offered.

The enterprise minister said there was a "Catch 22" with the "top class" work wear factories facing uncertainty over their future which would affect future contracts.

He said he had contacted a UK government minister in relation to the MOD extending its contract with the Stirling Remploy factor, which created suits to protect against biological, chemical and nuclear attack, but had so far heard nothing.


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