Remploy (United Kingdom Government Response)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2012.

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

My colleague, Fergus Ewing, said quite clearly that the Government has to work urgently on the matter, as Helen Eadie, whose commitment to this issue I respect, has asked us to do. We will do everything that we can, in working with the various partner organisations, to see whether an alternative sustainable model can be found in order that we can retain the Remploy factories in Scotland. We will ensure that that work is driven at a ministerial level. Fergus Ewing has given a clear commitment to ensure that that happens.

I sympathise with the spirit of the Labour amendment, but my principal concern about it is that it links itself to a specific model. At this juncture, we should keep all options open to try to find a way to secure the long-term viability of the Remploy factories. The Government is committed to doing that. Moreover, I hope that we will send a very clear signal to the Remploy employees who are here today that we, as a Parliament, are united in working to address their concerns and, if possible, to find a model that can work.