Angie Bray MP’s response to the closure of the Remploy factory in Acton (Gazette, March 16, p4) simply repeats the government’s justification of the decision to close the factories and make redundant over 1,500 severely disabled workers.
As the officer at the TUC working for disabled people, I am aware of the facts that show that the fine words from politicians about helping disabled people find work, repeated by Angie Bray, are contradicted by her government’s actual policies.
The main reason that Remploy factories are not productive is because governments (this one and the last one) have not used their immense procurement budgets to place orders there, preferring to send the work abroad. With record unemployment (encouraged by the government’s own policies) what chance have these workers of finding new jobs – let alone jobs that reflect their skills and experience?
Instead of contributing to society as they do now, these workers and their families now risk having to survive on benefits, and losing support and self respect. The unions have been urging reform of the Remploy factories for years, to make them productive, but have been ignored.
Angie Bray (quoting the minister) says these factories are 'Victorian'; what is truly Victorian is the great misery that shutting them down will cause: these are people we are talking about. The promised 'more efficient' spending of the money saved by the closure won’t help these workers, but nor will it improve the lot of other disabled people seeking work if there isn’t any work.
A civilised society gives support to those who need it: I hope local people will support the workers at Remploy.
Dr. Peter Purton,
Balfour Road, Southall