Remploy (United Kingdom Government Response)

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

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Photo of Helen Eadie Helen Eadie Labour

I had the privilege today of being on a demonstration with Patricia Ferguson and the Remploy workers who are in the public gallery, of speaking at the same conference at which John Swinney spoke and of having lunch and speaking at the same conference that Liz Sayce spoke at.

Members who know me will know that I have given a lot of commitment to supported enterprises, especially to the friends of Remploy, and that over the years I have tried to establish with other members a cross-party group on Remploy. Sadly, that was not possible, but I understand the pressures that members are under. Although we never succeeded in establishing a cross-party group on Remploy, perhaps now people will come on board for a cross-party group on supported businesses.

I welcome a lot of what Fergus Ewing said today and I know that the SNP Government has done a lot of work on the issue. The SNP Government got plaudits at the conference this morning for a range of activities that it has undertaken. However, I appeal urgently to it to reconsider its decision to have a review. There is no time for a review, which will take months. The situation requires urgent action because the axe will drop on 4 July for the people who are sitting in the gallery. No matter who is to blame—whether my Government or the Tory Government—the reality is that people will not have jobs after that date.