Welsh government scheme to employ ex-Remploy workers

A £2.4m scheme has been announced for employers in Wales who give jobs to former Remploy workers for at least four years.

The Employer Support Grant will contribute towards wages and "all other reasonable costs" which arise from employing a disabled worker.

It was announced by Education Minister Leighton Andrews after the UK government confirmed five Remploy sites in Wales will close.

At least 183 jobs are expected to go.

The sites closing include Aberdare, Abertillery, Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea and Wrexham.

Sites in Bridgend and Croespenmaen in Caerphilly county will remain open.

The UK government said the £320m budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively.

Mr Andrews said the closures were "a devastating blow" to the workers and their communities.

"This Welsh government believes employment and dignity should not be a privilege. So we have acted swiftly to support the workers who face unemployment," he added.

"We have been working with local authorities, social enterprises, supported businesses and private sector businesses to identify potential employment opportunities."

The secretary of Unite Wales, Andy Richards, welcomed the announcement.

"We will keep working with the Welsh government and fighting for Remploy workers," he added.

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