Remploy (United Kingdom Government Response)

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

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Photo of Jenny Marra Jenny Marra Labour

I am glad that the Scottish Government brought this debate to the Parliament, because the plight of Remploy factories in Scotland is immensely important. Labour members are keen that the Scottish Government should take decisive and swift action to provide all the support that it can to Remploy workers.

We need action now in Scotland, because Remploy is more than just a workplace. It is much more than the average 9-to-5 workplace; it is a community of work and dignity for hundreds of disabled people in Scotland. As I said in my intervention on Chic Brodie, in a stagnant job market, in which so many people are chasing so few positions—there are 6,000 unemployed people in Dundee and only 400 job vacancies—we have a moral obligation to ask ourselves whether we have done all that we can before we allow Remploy workers to join the dole queue, which is what they will do.

In our amendment, we note that the Scottish Government can do more for the workers of Remploy. I welcome the tone of the minister’s speech, which was in stark contrast to what we heard from his back benchers.

I ask the Government to consider some of the article 19 ideas that we have been promoting over the past couple of weeks to protect the Remploy workers in Dundee and throughout Scotland.