Plaid calls for devolution of Remploy following Tory’s comments
Plaid Cymru’s South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle has reiterated the party’s call for the Welsh Government to take real action to protect the interests of Remploy workers by bringing factories under its control.
His appeal follows comments by Tory Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith that Remploy factories do not offer “proper jobs”.
Seven of Wales’ nine Remploy factories have been earmarked for closure with 272 disabled workers’ jobs at risk. They include those at Abertillery, Croespenmaen, Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare.
The Tory Pensions Minister last week told 1,500 Remploy campaigners: “Is it a kindness to stick people in some factory where they are not doing any work at all? Just making cups of coffee?
“I promise you this is better. Taking this decision was a balance between how much do I want to spend keeping a number of people in Remploy factories not producing stuff versus getting people into proper jobs.”
Plaid Cymru has now called on the Welsh Government to actively seek the devolution of the budget so that it can be protected and to avoid the closure of Welsh Remploy factories.
Mr Whittle, the party’s spokesperson on equal opportunities said: “Plaid Cymru has long called for the budget for Remploy to be devolved so that it can be protected, and that is what the Welsh Government should be seeking to do. Clearly the Tory Secretary for Pensions doesn’t understand the importance of Remploy. These are factories that employ thousands of disabled workers who will find it extremely difficult to find work anywhere else.
“Remploy workers are facing redundancy and all the Labour Government is doing is wagging its finger. This rhetoric has no impact on the workers who want to know that their government is actively looking to support and protect their livelihoods.
“It is high time Labour listened and took action. Thousands of workers are facing redundancy and any hope of future employment is slim. Talk is cheap; Labour now needs to act.”
Following the comments of Iain Duncan Smith – a former leader of the Conservative Party – Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews called on him to be sacked.
He said: “I have visited every factory in Wales, since the Tory closure announcement, so unlike Iain Duncan Smith I actually have a clear idea of the good work that goes on in many of these factories.
“It is not just the callousness of these remarks that are shocking – I would expect little else from this Government – it’s the ignorance behind the remarks that is really troubling.
“In Wales we are absolutely clear that the decision to close all Remploy factories is wrong on social grounds, and wrong on economic grounds too. The Department for Work and Pensions and the taxpayer will end up paying out more for the Remploy workers if the factories close as they will be forced to take the dole.
“After making these comments, Iain Duncan Smith should be sacked. It’s as simple as that.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr