MP demands answers after government’s axe falls on Wrexham disabled factory

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM MP Ian Lucas is demanding answers from the government on the future of the town’s Remploy factory.

Three years ago the plant in Railway Road, which employs around 50 people with some form of disability, was saved from closure by a massive public campaign.

But now another question mark hangs over its fate.

In announcing its controversial plans for the possible axing of scores of Quangos – Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations – last week, the government made the surprise inclusion of Remploy.

Its future was described as being “under consideration”.

The organisation runs a network of factories across the UK providing decent, well-paid employment for thousands of disabled adults.

Mr Lucas said: “I am deeply concerned at this announcement and I think the staff at Remploy will want urgent clarification of the government’s plans.

“We have fought and won battles to keep a Remploy plant here in Wrexham, and having a question mark like this over the government’s future intentions is not helpful to say the least.

“There may well be a benign explanation for Remploy’s status in this list, but it is vital that the government moves to tackle the questions that status will raise.

“I will be pressing the Government for urgent answers on their plans.”

Mr Lucas has already raised questions about Remploy in the House of Commons.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude told him: “The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is undertaking a serious review of the future status of Remploy, and is very much aware of its good work and the valuable employment that it provides for many disabled people.”

A spokesman for Remploy would not comment on the current situation while the organisation’s future is still officially under consideration.

In November, 2007 the Wrexham factory was saved from closure after 15,000 people signed a petition calling on the government to keep it open.

Remploy provides opportunities for disabled and able-bodied people to work alongside one another.

After the closure threat was lifted a number of changes were introduced at the site to ensure it remains profitable.

Previously, the factory had produced just office furniture but has now branched out into other products such as bedroom and college furniture.

Earlier this year there was a total of 52 people working at the site – with 51 of those
having some form of disability.

See full story in the Leader

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