Disability Benefits and Social Care

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:59 pm on 20th June 2012.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 1:59 pm, 20th June 2012

The right hon. Gentleman does a huge amount of work in this area, and I would not want to fall out with him. I know that we both believe that disabled people should be looked at as individuals, and that he does a lot of work to make that a reality. I do not want to categorise people simply because of a condition they have. People deal with their conditions in different ways. That is what the personal independence payment is all about. I hope we can continue to work on this matter with the right hon. Gentleman, and with many outside organisations, because we need to put right the previous Government’s failure to introduce any reforms.

Let me dispel some of the other myths we have heard, starting with those about Remploy. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill knows full well that the programme Labour put in place was unsustainable, with more than £250 million in factory losses since its modernisation programme began. Labour set the unachievable target of a 130% increase in Remploy’s public sector sales in 2008, when the right hon. Gentleman, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury at around that time, must have known public sector spending was set to fall. Under Labour, very few additional contracts were won, and what is particularly shameful is that all this did nothing more than give people false hope. The modernisation plan was designed to turn factories around through a £550 million investment, yet it now still costs more than £20,000 to employ an individual in a Remploy factory and losses last year alone amounted to £65 million.