Brown steps up Remploy plants bid


Former prime minister Gordon Brown will urge both the UK and Scottish governments to do more to help save two factories which employ disabled workers.

Mr Brown has been spearheading the campaign to keep open the two Remploy factories in Fife.
On Wednesday, he and fellow Labour MP Lindsay Roy and councillor David Ross from Fife Council will make the case for the factories to receive improved transitional support at a meeting with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Scottish enterprise minister Fergus Ewing.

Mr Brown, the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, has already raised the plight of the factories, in Cowdenbeath and Leven, in a debate in the House of Commons. In that, MPs campaigning to keep the factories, where staff make lifejackets, argued the transitional relief being offered was not enough.

In a statement, Mr Brown, Mr Roy, the MP for Glenrothes, and Mr Ross said the help on offer from both the Scottish and UK governments was "inadequate".

The three politicians said they would be presenting Mr Smith with a draft business plan and the name of two would-be buyers who they said were interested in taking over the sites.

But they added: "The problem we face is that transitional government support is inadequate - and despite the fact that they have a full order book for the plants and the chance of expanding their production, they cannot move overnight from £1.6 million of losses to financial viability.

"The UK and Scottish governments are offering some help but it is inadequate. The planned help of £6,400 over three years per disabled employee is not enough to wipe out the current losses and both the UK Government and the Scottish Government will have to do more.

"At our meeting today is not only Mr Duncan Smith but also Scottish enterprise minister Fergus Ewing, who we will ask to ensure adequate support from the Scottish administration, who have offered just £5,000 per employee as part of the rescue bid.

"We have no doubt that between us - the UK, Scottish Government and Fife Council - we can save the factories, but it will depend on each of us being prepared to do more."

© 2013 Press Association
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