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Remploy closures “an act of vandalism”

BASW and its trade union arm the Social Workers Union (SWU) has described the closure of half of Remploy’s factories, which offer work for disabled people “an act of vandalism”.

BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson, also general secretary of SWU, said he had raised his concerns about the closure of 27 of Remploy’s 54 factories with Ann Clywd MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work and also a longstanding campaigner on disabled employment issues.

The decision to close the factories, commencing in August and expected to be completed by December, was confirmed by Maria Miller, minister for disabled people, who told MPs last week that the £320m budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively. The move places 1,421 jobs at risk.

Commenting on the closures, Mr Dawson said: “The closure of Remploy is an act of vandalism, destroying a legacy built up by veterans of the Second World War and destroying a unique resource which has enabled many thousands of people with disabilities to contribute to the economy and enhance their own self esteem through useful work.

“At a time of high unemployment it is fatuous to try to claim that hundreds of people currently employed by Remploy will readily be able to find a sutiable outlet for their skills. Looking to the future it’s a particular tragedy for so many who might have made good use of time in the supportive environment of Remploy that this will no longer be available to them.

“Nothing will be gained by the closure of Remploy and invaluable opportunities will be lost. This government has, to its credit, shown itself capable of reflection and a change of heart. Remploy presents the best case yet to think again.”

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