Call for further Remploy support

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown

FORMER Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Lindsay Roy MP have called for more Government support to save Fife’s Remploy factories.

Speaking after a meeting on Friday with chairman of Remploy, Sir Ian Russell, Mr Brown said the current offer to redundant workers and to prospective buyers of either the Leven or Cowdenbeath factories is too low.

On the table is a wage subsidy totalling £6400 for each billable eligible disabled member of staff, and just £10,000 to help an employee-led bid be prepared.

But with Labour members of Parliament claiming the factory is said to be losing £20,000 per worker, they feel the Government help is inadequate to bridge the gap for a new owner to come in.

Mr Brown said: “The Government support is too small to attract a buyer without additional help being made available.

“We are determined to press for additional finance to bridge the gap between the costs the factories incur and the money they make. Otherwise, a large number of the jobs will be lost.

“If we want to save the jobs, we will need to do more.

“I believe the UK Government, the Scottish Government and Fife Council can work together to bridge the gap.”

Mr Roy added: “This Government says it is supporting disabled workers and trying to reduce the number of people who have to rely solely on benefits. It needs to live up to that promise by working closely with us to sustain Remploy jobs in Fife.

“Getting the council on board through Alex Rowley’s personal commitment to Remploy is an important next step.

“Now we will look for partners to help us ensure jobs can be secured.

“This New Year is a sad time for the workers but we want to ensure it has a happier ending in 2013.”

Also present at the meeting were MSPs Claire Baker, Helen Eadie and Jayne Baxter, Councillor David Ross, representing Fife Council, with the trade unions UNITE and GMBATU, and the workers’ shop stewards from both factories.