Rescue package hope to keep Remploy open
9:00am Wednesday 25th April 2012 in Your Town
A BOLTON factory under threat of closure could be handed a lifeline as potential buyers meet with company bosses today.
Remploy’s electronics factory, in Manchester Road, which employs 42 disabled people, is due to close after the government announced last month that it was axing subsidies for 36 of Remploy’s 54 factories, including Bolton.
Now a rescue package is being put together to keep the factory open.
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi is today leading a delegation to meet the minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, who has responsibility for Remploy at Westminster.
She will be accompanied by Malcolm Hinchliffe, from Macclesfield- based technology firm Oerlikon Fibrevision Ltd, and Fay Selvan, from the Big Life Group, the social enterprise group behind the Big Issue magazine for homeless people.
Ms Qureshi, said: “We fought for a long time to keep Bolton’s Remploy factory open and it was a bitter blow when the government announced it was to be in the first wave of closures.
“Now there’s a chance to save jobs, but more time is needed to put together a workable proposal.
“We’ll be asking the government minister to hang fire on the closure to give us that extra time.”
Oerlikon Fibrevision, which specialises in high-tech sensoring and measurement equipment for synthetic yarns, is Bolton Remploy’s biggest customer.
Big Life Group is one of the largest social businesses in the country, and is best known for The Big Issue in the North.
Mrs Miller said the Remploy board was proposing to close the Bolton site by the end of the year because it was unlikely to achieve independent financial viability.
She said the budget for disability employment has been protected, however, adding that the money will be spent more effectively. Remploy workers in Bolton have been offered cash from a £300,000 government mentoring scheme to help them find work elsewhere.
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