Sadness at closure of Remploy factory – a happy place to work

First published in Comment

IT was with a deep feeling of sadness that I read about the closure of the Bolton Remploy factory (The Bolton News , August 17) after 60 years manufacturing on their Manchester Road site.

As an MP for Bolton South East, I visited the factory several times and I was impressed when the factory converted from manufacturing high quality textile products to manufacturing electronic components instead — with the same workforce.

It has always been a happy place to work . It has survived attempts to close it previously, both under a Tory government and under the last Labour government, when I persuaded our Minister at the Department of Work and Pensions to leave it open. Fortunately, she listened. Another memorial to Farnworth’s finest Member of Parliament, George Tomlinson, has gone.

Successive governments, lobbied by some of the organisations representing disabled people in this country, have believed that disabled people are better off outside sheltered employment , but that is not a view held by those who have worked for Remploy over many years.

I wish all the 48 workers who have been made redundant well in their search for future employment.

At least the Remploy subsidy kept people constantly in work and provided them with the dignity and income that that provided. It may be that many of those made redundant by the Conservative Government’s decision to close the remaining 27 Remploy factories will require benefits that exceed that subsidy.

I want to thank Bill Hardman in particular for the constant lobbying he and his fellow trade unionists did to keep the factory open over many years and my successor, Yasmin Qureshi, for her valiant attempts to keep the factory open.

Dr Brian Iddon

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