Welfare to Work

Remploy workers only making cups of tea

Remploy workers only making cups of tea

Welsh Government Education Minister Leighton Andrews has called for the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to be sacked after comments he made about the closing of Remploy factories.

The Work and Pensions Secretary will close 36 specialist factories with the loss of 1,518 jobs. The dual aim is to save money and get more people into “proper jobs”.

But Labour’s Liam Byrne called his remarks “utterly unacceptable”.

The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said that the secretary of state should

“issue a written apology to everyone involved with Remploy, and to the many more people you have offended with your ignorant, heartless and foolish comments.”

It is reported that Iain Duncan Smith said

“Is it a kindness to stick people in some factory where they are not doing any work at all? Just making cups of coffee? I promise you this is better.

Leighton Andrews AM has hit back and has visited every factory in Wales, since the closure was announced and explains that unlike Iain Duncan Smith he actually has a clear idea of the good work that goes on in many of these factories.

Mr Andrews explained that the decision to close all Remploy factories in Wales is wrong on social and economic grounds because DWP, and the tax payer, will end up paying out more for the Remploy workers if the factories close because they will be forced to draw benefits and redundancies will have to be paid.

The Department for Work and Pensions has responded that the best way to help disabled people into work is not to hide them away in factories but to give assistance in supporting them into mainstream employment.

Ministers and the Secretary of State have explained that the specialist employment budget is £320m and a fifth of it is being spent on loss making Remploy factories and should instead be moved into programmes like Access to Work. There will be no cut to funding.

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