NORTH Wales AM Mark Isherwood has highlighted support on offer to former Remploy workers in Wrexham who have lost their jobs.
The Remploy factory in Railway Road closed in August with about 40 members of staff being made redundant.
“A Community Support Fund has been established, targeted at areas affected by Remploy closures, which is open to disabled people’s user-led organisations and other voluntary organisations in Wales, Scotland and England,” said Mr Isherwood.
“The Community Support Fund amounts to £1.5m and is available for 18 months from July 2012. Organisations wishing to apply for support can find more information on the UK Office for Disability Issues website.
“Ambassadors have been recruited to promote these funds and to support local organisations to apply for funding. The Ambassador for Wales, Cerrys Hill, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
“An £8 million support package guarantees all employees affected by Remploy factory closures now, with tailored support for up to 18 months. This contrasts with the failure to support the 2,500 people who lost their jobs when Remploy factories closed in 2008.
“The £320 million UK budget for specialist disability employment services has been fully protected and additional funding has been added to the UK Access to Work programme, which gives disabled people and their employers advice and support with extra costs which may arise because of their needs.
“An Access to Work grant provides support to enable disabled people to do their job and can include specialist equipment, travel and a communicator at a job interview.”
Last month the Leader reported Prime Minister David Cameron had been criticised following his comments over Remploy.
During a visit to the Airbus factory in Flintshire Mr Cameron said the closure of Remploy was not a cost cutting decision. “We asked some of the leading experts in disability rights to look at the Remploy factories and the Remploy subsidy and to work out what we should do for the future,” Mr Cameron said.
“They advised us that actually what we ought to be doing is helping people individually who are disabled to find work rather than continuing with the current regime.
“We are still going to be spending hundreds of millions of pounds on helping disabled people into work but the advice we had from the experts said that the Remploy subsidy being the only way of doing it was not the right approach.”
The remarks angered Nicholas Green, aged 42 of Acrefair, who was a GMB shop steward at the Remploy factory. He was an assembly operative and worked at the company for 25 years.
Giving his views on the Prime Minister’s comments Mr Green said: “This really is an insult. Hard working people have been thrown on the scrap heap with no jobs, yet the Prime Minister seems to think that is OK. He is talking rubbish.”
Mr Green said that out of a workforce of about 40 only about six or seven of his Remploy colleagues had been successful in getting new employment since the factory closed.”
Mr Green said he wished Mr Cameron would visit Wrexham to see what the reality was for ex-Remploy staff. “I would like him to witness first hand what has happened to so many people who have been cast aside. These are dedicated workers we are talking about. They have lost their jobs and there is a factory sitting idle.”
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