Firms offered £5,000 to take on ex-Remploy workers

From Democracy Live: Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing announces a £5,000 incentive for firms

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The Scottish government has launched an incentive scheme to encourage employers to give permanent jobs to redundant Remploy workers.

Firms will be able to claim £5,000 to cover retraining and recruitment costs.

Remploy factories in Motherwell, Aberdeen and Edinburgh have already closed.

A site at Springburn in Glasgow is due to shut next year and three other factories in Dundee, Stirling and Clydebank face closure.

Remploy, which employs disabled people across the country, had its funding withdrawn by the UK government earlier this year.

Securing jobs

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing money told MSPs the money should be used to fund new jobs.

Mr Ewing said: "I have been extremely concerned about the closure of Remploy factories across Scotland since the Department for Work and Pensions announced the beginning of the process this summer.

"Since then I have visited all of the affected sites in Scotland and have heard from hard-working and loyal staff being forced out of jobs that they have held for years.

Start Quote

Very few of those made redundant so far have found new employment and that is why we are offering this further assistance”

End Quote Fergus Ewing MSP Enterprise minister

"The Scottish government's first objective is to try to secure the jobs of those Remploy workers still employed by the company."

Mr Ewing said ministers were working to support the factories that could be sold as a going concern but said those workers losing their jobs needed assistance.

"We are making efforts to make sure that any organisation interested in the current business is supported appropriately through our enterprise bodies," he added.

"However, very few of those made redundant so far have found new employment and that is why we are offering this further assistance.

"The recruitment incentive will help companies who want to take on ex-Remploy employees but are concerned about the cost of retraining or additional support.

"It will be payable for a range of jobs in the public, private and third sectors over 18 months and Skills Development Scotland will manage the programme."

Welsh example

Scottish Labour has described the scheme as "disappointing".

Dundee West MP Jim McGovern said the Scottish government pledge fell short of those made by the devolved administration in Wales, which has committed to cover up to 75% of the wage costs for a company, or 100% for a public body, who opts to take on a former Remploy employee for up to four years.

The Welsh Assembly has also called on the Department for Work and Pensions to allow them to buy a number of the factories in order to secure their future.

Mr McGovern said: "The SNP has failed to follow the Welsh example, who are actively working toward trying to keep factories open."

"Remploy in Dundee and across Scotland have been badly let down."

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