£1.2M needed to save Remploy

Gordon Brown MP
Gordon Brown MP

AROUND an average of £400,000 per year for the next three years is needed to save Remploy in Fife.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown made the claim and called on the UK Government to make it available as it seeks to privatise the disabled workers business.

Currently, prospective buyers of the Leven and Cowdenbeath factories are being offered a wage subsidy of £6400 over three years per each disabled employee it keeps on, but that works out at less than £150,000 per year.

Mr Brown highlighted he thinks there is a £250,000 shortfall, while detailing a rescue plan created with fellow Fife MPs Lindsay Roy and Thomas Docherty to save the factories.

They predict that, with proper financial support, the facilities, which made a loss of £844,000 last year, could turn a profit on their own within a just a few years, maintaining the local jobs of disabled workers and satisfying a worldwide demand for the lifejackets and marine safety aids they make.

The MPs all spoke at a press conference on Monday ahead of a scheduled House of Commons debate yesterday (Tuesday), as the Mail went to press.

They were joined at the conference by Labour MSPs Claire Baker, Helen Eadie and Jayne Baxter, deputy Fife Council leader David Ross and union representatives, as they explained why they believe the plants do have a future.

Mr Brown said: “They manufacture a successful product and have a full order book in an established market, selling 30,000 a year with the capability of selling even more.

“It is not a case that it is a limited market; it is a case that the Government has decided to privatise, but what is needed is proper transitional help to enable the two factories, which have almost halved their losses from £1.68M to £844,000 in a year, to become viable.

“The workers have made every effort to keep their factories in business but now they need help and more time to make them viable.

“£6400 per disabled employee over three years is simply not enough and we need the Government, working with the Scottish Government, to put in more money to ensure these factories can survive.”

Lindsay Roy commented: “This is a top quality manufacturing facility and we need to retain manufacturing in Fife.

“We should not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach and the plan we have put together needs to be taken seriously.

“There are already expressions of interest from the private sector and we will be looking very closely at these.”