Call for ‘robust’ investigation

3012010 SSFM remploy 'Remploy Factory, Banbeath Industrial Estate, Leven
3012010 SSFM remploy 'Remploy Factory, Banbeath Industrial Estate, Leven

Lindsay Roy MP has called for an investigation into the sell-off of Fife’s Remploy factories after the publication of report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The Glenrothes and Central Fife MP asked the NAO to conduct the inquiry because he was concerned at how the failed sell-off of Remploy Marine in Fife was handled.

Lindsay Roy MP

Lindsay Roy MP

He said: “I am pleased that no evidence of fraud or improper practice has been found with regards to the sell-off of Remploy businesses throughout the UK.

“However, the investigation has raised serious questions of competence about how the business at Leven and Cowdenbeath was run.

“There were contracts relating to the ownership of intellectual property rights and existing sales agreements, but Remploy Marine was unable to provide documentation which set out the valuation of the contracts.”

The report also found that there was inadequate documentation on the agreement underpinning the relationship with a commercial partner, and that an absence of contractual documents can weaken a negotiating position in commercial discussions with interested parties.

“We know that Remploy in Fife made high-quality life jackets which were were sold to a commercial company who marketed them worldwide for in excess of £125, a mark-up of 400 per cent.

“Who in their right mind in the Remploy management would entertain such a deal? It is little wonder that, despite several expressions of interest and a talented and skilled workforce, there were no bids for the business.

“This needs to be scrutinised in detail and I have now asked the NAO to carry out a rigorous and robust enquiry into how the company was run.”

He added: “With competent management, I am convinced that Remploy Marine could have been profitable and not reliant on subsidies. The 65 former workers and all the communities that supported them deserve to know the truth.”