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 am running out of time now, but perhaps the member and I can speak after the debate.

We must allow for a variety of community enterprise models. I have been involved in community businesses in a hands-on, real way—I have set up a community nursery and a workers co-operative factory, and I have been involved in community cleaning—so I understand the arguments about mutuals and the need to ensure that the business is financially viable. I am not arguing with that.

On the Glencraft versus Blindcraft issue—and all the rest—I highlight the debate that took place on 12 December at Westminster and encourage the minister to look at the contribution by Paul Goggins from Wythenshawe. He showed how any one of us in the Parliament could drive forward rescue packages, and his tackling of the issue has been first class.

With regard to the core costs that have caused Remploy’s downfall, the company has an office in the midlands that costs £100,000 a year to rent, and there is £3.5 million for bonuses. If those things are stripped out and replaced by mutuals run for the benefit of the disabled community, we will start to address the issues.

I was gobsmacked when I read Liz Sayce’s report, in which she said that every placement at a college—there are only nine such colleges in England and Wales, and none in Scotland—costs £78,000.