Job for just one of 18 sacked workers

JUST one of the 18 sacked disabled workers in Southampton has found a new job after Government help, it has been revealed.

Remploy’s Southampton branch in West Quay Road was one of 27 across the country to be axed after ministers claimed the multi-million-pound subsidy could be better spent.

But now it has been revealed that the £8m Government support package has helped just 129 Remploy staff to find work across the UK – 15 per cent of the total – and just a single person in Southampton.

Liam Byrne, Labour’s work and pensions spokesman, said: “Disabled people desperate for work have been cast adrift into the deepest jobs crisis Britain has seen in decades.”

Despite the criticism from Labour ranks, the previous Government had initiated a first wave of closures, including merging a Remploy factory at Chandler’s Ford with the Southampton site in 2007.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The previous Government started the closure of Remploy factories in 2008. They closed 29 factories, but had no systematic way of tracking what happened to the workers.

“We have put in place an £8m package of employment support for affected workers, including one-to-one case workers, and we are tracking the destinations of the ex-employees who are choosing to work with us to find another job.”

The factories required an average taxpayer subsidy of £25,000 for each worker, compared with just £2,900 to support a disabled person in a mainstream job.

But experts have calculated that a disabled person in the UK is twice as likely to be unemployed as someone without a handicap.

Official figures show that in June there were 554,000 unemployed disabled people – a 10.7 per cent rise on the previous year.

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