National employment scheme for disabled people must modernise

Remploy, the national agency providing employment for disabled people, was yesterday ordered by the government to modernise, but a complete closure of its factory network was ruled out.

Minister for disabled people Anne McGuire rejected both complete factory closure and maintaining the status quo, after an independent report revealed that Remploy factory workers received an annual average subsidy of £18,000, compared with £5,000 for other supported employment schemes.

McGuire guaranteed the company’s current £111 million annual budget for five years but will ask the Remploy board to draw up a restructuring plan.

The report, by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Disability Matters chief executive Stephen Duckworth, set out four options for the company.

These range from maintaining the status quo to transferring the majority of the company’s efforts away from its factories to its Interwork job placement scheme.

The report argued that a greater focus on job placement would allow more disabled people to be supported into work within the agency’s existing budget.

The review was ordered by the government in March after a National Audit Office report last October found few people were progressing from Remploy’s 83 factories to unsupported accommodation and it became clear the organisation was unable to continue to operate within its existing budget.



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