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Differently tabled

Posted on July 07, 2013 by

In a week that will end with the finals of the incredible wheelchair tennis at Wimbledon, it was perhaps understandable that people might not have noticed the UK government sneaking out the announcement that the five remaining Remploy factories in Scotland are to be closed as part of its reform of welfare provision.

wheeltennis

(The minister involved, Esther McVey, made very clear that welfare provision was how the government saw the factories, rather than legitimate businesses which happened to be subsidised by the taxpayer, like the UK’s railway companies and banks.)

If only we had a Labour administration at Westminster to protect them, eh?

Remploy is a state-funded organisation dedicated to finding employment for disabled people. It was established in 1945 under the terms of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 in order to provide work to disabled servicemen returning from WW2, and opened its first factory in Bridgend, Wales, in 1946.

Over the following decades it established a network of factories across the UK, which by 2007 numbered 83 sites, making everything from wheelchairs and surgical footwear to nurses’ uniforms, chemical and biological warfare suits for the MoD, toiletries, car parts and furniture. There are factories that recycle white goods, as well as assembling electronic units and binding books.

The five factories to be cut in Scotland are part of the planned nine factories to close throughout the UK and represent the entire remaining Remploy workforce north of the border. More than 230 disabled people across the UK face redundancy, with 137 of those redundancies (60%) at the Scots plants.

Gordon Brown entered the debate by branding the decision “shameful”, adding:

“The factories at Leven and Cowdenbeath have a full order book and could easily expand their workload given the demand for their product.”

Anne McGuire MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, concurred:

“This Government’s record on disability employment is nothing short of a disgrace. The vast majority of the disabled workers this Government has already sacked from Remploy are still out of work, and disability unemployment is still higher than in May 2010.

Yet today, just one week after we learned disabled people are three times more likely to find work if we do nothing than if they take part in the Government’s so-called ‘Work Programme’,  David Cameron is throwing yet more disabled people out of a job.

We have had three years of failure and contempt from this Government on disability employment. What we need now is serious action to get disabled people into work – not just dumped on the dole.” 

It’s difficult to argue with that sentiment. But readers with longer memories might recall that Ms McGuire’s party was in power at Westminster until recently. Presumably, then, Labour must have strenuously and diligently protected ventures like Remploy?

In May 2007 the UK was at the height of an economic boom – the government had access to easy cheap credit, Gordon Brown was still the Chancellor, and he was responsible for deciding where funding would be applied to all government departments and quangos.

These were still times before austerity, and as such there was no driving ethos of cuts to reduce spending – any cuts were where services were surplus to requirements, rather than unaffordable. It was in that month that Brown signed off on the closure of 29 UK Remploy factories (35% of sites), including five in Scotland.

The main decision makers in the matter were Gordon Brown, Peter Hain (Work and Pensions Secretary) and Anne McGuire (minister for disabled people). In 2008 the GMB Union branded the job losses a ‘betrayal’ of the disabled by (now Prime Minister) Brown’s government. Pleas to Brown to halt the closures were dismissed and the Remploy ‘modernisation’ program went ahead, costing nearly half of the workforce their jobs – almost 2,500 disabled people. But things were about to get even worse.

In 2010 the UK General Election resulted in a hung parliament. David Cameron became Prime Minister of the first peacetime coalition, and the Labour ‘modernisation’ programme that had closed a third of the Remploy factories gave way to a Conservative/Liberal Democrat ‘rationalisation’ programme with a different name but very similar aims.

In early 2012 the UK government submitted a report in which it proposed to close 36 of the 54 remaining factories, though protests eventually saw the number slightly reduced to 34 with the loss of 1,752 jobs (1,518 of which were held by disabled workers).

At the time an article on LabourList noted:

“Remploy fulfilled a very important role in society. It played the very role our coalition government endlessly claims they value the most. It placed some of the most disadvantaged, most vulnerable disabled people in work. More than that, in many cases, it provided work that disabled people could do.

Often giving structure and social value to the lives of people with learning difficulties or severe mental health problems, the sad truth is that many of these workers would not have been employed elsewhere.

In an ideal world, there would be no need for Remploy. All disabled people would be able to compete on a level playing field, finding work to suit their skills and abilities. They would be embraced in the workplace, supported where they have additional needs and helped to achieve their full potential.

Anyone who thinks that this is possible in 2012 is simply living in a fantasy land. In the worst recession since the 30s, at a time of the highest unemployment we have seen for a generation, at a time when young, fit, degree students cannot find work, what hope is there for Remploy workers? The government claim that there will be transitional help. Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People claimed,

“The Government will reduce its current subsidy to Remploy from the beginning of the new financial year so that we cease funding factories which make significant losses year after year and restrict funding to those factories which might have a prospect of a viable future without Government subsidy.”

And there’s the rub. Some of our most disadvantaged workers were not financially ‘viable’. No matter that Remploy made them socially viable. No matter that Remploy was often the only chance for profoundly disabled people to be independently viable.

In the language of fascism, these people should have made more profit.

1,752 people not relying on benefits. 1,752 people paying tax. 1,752 people given the chance to be the best that they can be. Did anyone do the maths? Did anyone work out exactly how much the scheme saved or did they simply look at a balance sheet, simply take a company performing a role that no-one else would do and judge it against Tesco and Asda?

Again, disabled people are told they are ‘not viable’. Does this language not strike fear into the coldest heart? Does it not make us pause for a moment and wonder what the alternative to ‘non-viable’ is? We are not viable as ‘claimant stock’, not viable as ‘super-users’ of the NHS, not viable as taxpayers, not viable as profit-turners, as creators of wealth. And that is the only form of ‘viable’ this Government seems to understand.”

The latest round of closures will see the total number of Remploy factories assisting the disabled fall to a grand total of 11 sites. It took six decades to build up Remploy to 83 sites which at their peak were providing work to over 10,000 disabled people. It has taken successive Labour and Tory/Lib Dem governments just six years to close almost 90% of those sites and throw the workers on the dole.

Remploy demonstrates that the social gains made in Britain as a society since 1945 can be swept away at dazzling speed. Totemic social institutions like the NHS, the welfare state, the Royal Mail and countless others will be unrecognisable by the end of the current administration from the entities of which the county was once proud.

But as we’ve seen, a lack of compassion for the vulnerable is not the exclusive preserve of the Conservatives. Labour laid the building blocks for almost all of the coalition’s “reforms” in those fields, and wreaked havoc on Remploy even in times of growth. They may offer different justifications and rationales for their attacks on the UK’s social fabric, but the results are much the same.

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    1. 19 07 13 10:52

      Communication Breakdown | Still Raining, Still Dreaming

    45 to “Differently tabled”

    1. redcliffe62 says:

      Another story the MSM may choose to ignore. This is shocking.

    2. mato21 says:

      MPs of all shades of blue have compassion that only stretches as far as their own salary and expense claims
       
      Herald seems to have the bit between their teeth this morning Maybe their sales have increased

    3. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Mato21 at
      7 July, 2013 at 8:42 am
       
        Herald seems to have the bit between their teeth this morning Maybe their sales have increased
       
      I was thinking that this morning as I keeked behind their paywall.
       
      when in doubt, follow the money. 

    4. ianbrotherhood says:

      Great piece Scott.
       
      This is what real journalism looks like – thank god someone’s still doing it.
       

    5. Craig says:

      Remember also that Remploy was on Better Together’s list of 200 government organisations that an independent Scotland couldn’t exist without.

      Apparently it’s not *that* vital…but maybe it should be!

    6. Vronsky says:

      There ought to be some sort of response from the Unions on this.  Well, you’d think – does anyone know if Remploy factories are unionised? 

      Interesting piece in the Independent:

      “it was claimed yesterday that the shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, a senior Blairite in the Shadow Cabinet, was the target of a campaign by Unite to deselect him as Labour’s candidate at the 2015 election […]
      Labour leadership is being urged to consider […] allowing members of trade unions to opt in to membership of the Labour Party, rather than see a levy from their union fees automatically paid to the party […] would lead to a significant fall in the amount of money the party receives from unions”
       
      And Bell in the Herald is good on this, although he thinks it’s all bluff and will come to nothing.  Surely nuclear option for Unite is to allow their members to choose which party receives the political subsidy. In Scotland, that probably means anything up to 40% to the SNP.
       
       

    7. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      So these units are not economically viable and perforce the people in them are similarly stigmatised.
      It depends how you do your sums. Did they do the contra calculation about what it would cost to keep the unviable people in other totally non productive activity? Of course not, that is somebody else’s job, somebody else’s budget.
       
      I have an idea, if we get shot of Westminster the House of Lords and the Scottish Office, has anyone done the sums on that?  I don’t need a calculator to make an an intelligent guess that they cost us in Scotland more than the Remploy factories.
       
      Job solved.
       
      Do away with a really unproductive and totally non viable economic unit of benefit thieves and fund Remploy.

    8. David Smith says:

      Any idea how to bypass the pay wall?
       

    9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Any idea how to bypass the pay wall?”

      Buy the paper?

      The Herald’s paywall is easily dodged, but if we really care about fair and honest media we ought to reward it when it happens. You can get the Sunday edition for 69p online, is it really not worth that much to encourage one oasis of decent balanced reporting in the Scottish media?

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I have an idea, if we get shot of Westminster the House of Lords and the Scottish Office, has anyone done the sums on that?”

      I believe the cost to Scotland is in the region of £50m a year.

    11. Erchie says:

      Skipping the pay wall on the Herald is child’s play, but I’m buying the paper. Reward even-handed, fair journalism which so yeah, they get to criticise our side too) by giving them money

    12. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Clear your browser cache after you have viewed the 5 articles or when it tells you that ypu have reached your limit.
      In Firefox it is called recent history.

    13. Jiggsbro says:

      Another story the MSM may choose to ignore
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-23183211

    14. scaredy cat. says:

      Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit a Remploy factory. I have been in many production facilities and I am not easily impressed, but it was an incredible site. I was stunned to see workers with such challenging disabilities carrying out such skilled work. The place was well organised and the equipment was state of the art. The finished product was top quality and the workers were rightly proud of what they were achieving. So sad that these places are to be lost. There is so much more to them than your average factory.

    15. seoc says:

      Can you imagine the devastating effect this must have on the minds and self esteem of the already severely disadvantaged and often rejected people?
      Disadvantaged financially is awful, but to also be additionally hammered – unnecessarily – by grossly overpaid politicians is an utter disgrace.
      Where are the Churches in opposing such ‘decisions’?

    16. John Hannah says:

      This is the worst kind of Toryism I can think of. Someone said you can measure a society by the way they treat the poor and vulnerable. Well if the UK was measured on the smell scale, it would be absolutely poo pong stinking. Given the tax breaks for the richer peeps and the lack of revenue collection from some big corporates, adding this to the Tory crock of s***, is a clear sign of moving back to a Victorian era society. The rich are creaming off as much revenue for themselves as possible whilst subjugating as may of the population as they can. That’s not competition, it’s theft. It really is in full view of the people. It’s almost like a taunt!
       
      Recent events also show there is no ‘Scottish Labour’. WM Labour are playing the WM game in their support for the Tory/Lib Dem coalition by abstaining from or openly supporting current policy. The Scottish puppets are simply conforming to their masters wishes.
       
      We know SLAB aren’t registered as a party and it is blindingly obvious following the Falkirk debacle that Johann runs nothing. The fact that Blue Ed is firing the bullets after some Tory loaded the gun and grassed them to Police Scotland shows that Lamont is indeed a Westminster puppet.
       
      Labour have been grassed only because some Tory wants to stick the knife in. This shows us yet again that Labour and the Tories/Lib Dems are not ‘Better Together’.
       
      That particular ‘non alliance’ is a joke, just like the joke that there is a Scottish Labour, Tory or Lib Dem leader. Neither Johann, Ruth or Wullie are leaders …they are West Minster puppets and always have been. The quicker the Scottish electorate wake the f*** up to this the better. These three stooges that are the Scottish parliament Unionist leaders past and present, are complicit in the ruination of the welfare state, cover ups re oil revenues, supporting illegal war blah blah the list goes on. Worst of all of the selling of their country ‘doon the swanny’.
       
      If after seeing the recent revelations re the scare stories today and if Falkirk got a hearing in the MSM, anyone who votes ‘No’ after that lot must surely may need a lobotomy and one of those jackets with the fancy silver buckles.
       
      They (Westminster – all colours of politicians) are starting with the most vulnerable because they have less chance of looking after themselves. The disabled and the unemployed and sections of public services just a wee bit at a time. They will work their way up/sideways.
       
      Vote Yes people, before they come for you, because if they haven’t impacted you yet, they will soon. Make no mistake …you are in the firing line.
       
       
       

    17. Marcia says:

      Jiggsbro
      That BBC report said ‘No viable bids received.’ I am not surprised as I understand that Dundee City Council tried to get information on the Dundee workshop it was met with obstruction and delay in providing basic information to enable a viable bid be made. My opinion is that the DWP wanted them all closed.

    18. Tattie-boggle says:

      Another asset stripped, more to come.

    19. Tattie-boggle says:

      jiggsbro
      Classic Labour Attack
      “It will be a matter of great regret that the UK and Scottish governments could not come to a deal which would have saved the jobs in Leven, Cowdenbeath, Stirling, Dundee and Clydebank, most of them in areas of higher than average unemployment.”

    20. panda paws says:

      I’m very happy for Remploy to close on the grounds of not being sustainable IF AND ONLY IF the government of whatever shade of neo-liberalism accept that its employees are not going to be able to find alternative employment and so should be supported via the social security system without any hoops to jump. If people with disabilities not severe enough to qualify for assisted employment can’t find a job, then there is bugger all chance the Remploy folk will.
       

    21. joe kane says:

      Given the state of the job market for workers with disabilities, these ex-Remploy workers can now look forward to being persecuted and hounded by the DWP sanctions regime every day of their remaining working lives until they retire. If they manage to survive that long. Sanctions, foodbanks, homelessness and destitution await them from now on.

    22. Wee folding bike says:

      So, something set up for disabled servicemen is being dismantled by the party who took us into two wars and the party who want to celebrate the start of WW I. 
      I was in Bovington tank museum, Dorset, yesterday. There was no celebration of war there merely the stories of the men and machines involved. I would recommend this museem to anyone. 

    23. Tris says:

      How do these closures fit with their claim that the aim of the welfare changes for sick and disabled people, (Incapacity Benefit and DELA) was not to save money but to encourage people who were fit enough to undertake some work to do just that.
      This was for their well being, not, they repeat, not to save money. Indeed there would be no saving of money.
      So where is the justification, at a time when work is at a premium, and where most employers have their pick of a large number of potential employees, for throwing hundreds of hard working disabled people onto the dole?
       
       

    24. ianbrotherhood says:

      @John Hannah-
       
      Hear hear.
       
      You really have to wonder if this isn’t about some perverted mission to ‘prove’ that UKPlc has utterly eschewed any social-democratic commitment, regardless of how the electorate happens to feel.
       
      The Bedroom Tax is another obvious example – the cash savings are, in the scheme of things, negligible.
       
      We should call it what it is – institutionalised sadism.

    25. The Man in the Jar says:

      I once worked for Strathclyde Regional Council, Internal Transport. “The Wans Wi the Vans!” We operated and maintained the Social Work and Education buses. Most of these were equipped with tail-lifts for the disabled. Occasionally one of these busses would come into a depot for minor repair or we would drive a replacement bus to a breakdown and recover the broken down bus. The sights you would see in these buses would break your heart. Some of the passengers so severely disabled that you would rarely see them in public.
      These buses would be refurbished now and again. Whenever possible we would used Remploy in Springburn to refurbish the seats and internal fittings. Not because they were any cheaper but because it was the right thing to do. Like scaredy cat above I visited Remploy on several occasions and was very impressed. It did stand out that the employees were very proud of the fact that they were providing a service and that they were doing a real job. I am working from memory but I am sure that Remploy in Springburn shut under the Blair government but the rot started with Thatchers Local Government act of 1989 when everything had to go out to tender and money ruled. Of course Thatcher despised the old SRC and it had its faults but we did a lot of good work. As usual the MSM at the time did their job and printed all the bad news stories. All of this is part of the slow decent to what we have to live with today.

    26. Erchie says:

      @Bugger the Panda & pandapaws

      You don’t have to worry about money being wasted keeping the disabled in unproductive existence once Remploy closes.

      Not one whit.

      Because they won’t be. They will be found as “not sick enough to qualify for ESA” and will, most likely, be “too sick for JSA” and thus they have the exciting opportunity of starving to death in the street if there is no family support for them.

      It is hard to get this across to people because, even in the most Politician-skeptic individual, an assumption that “the system is basically fair, mistakes happen but it will all get sorted in the end”
      Get that idea right out of your head. It is unfair. There has been a concerted effort to paint the sick and disabled as work-shy scroungers and for all those receiving the benefits from the system they paid into all their working lives as “having to bear their share of the burden”

      Simplest examples are these. the previous Disability Living Allowance (paid to help the severely disabled adapt their living conditions to have as normal a life as possible, including going to work) had a DWP fraud rate of 0.5% That is there may have been something odd in one payment in 200.

      The Tories took the decision to reduce this 20%. That is one in 5. No targetting for fraud, just reduce it.

      The Atos assessment is flawed, plenty of places will detail how much. The Tribunal appeal rate has a 43% success rate. IF you have representation that rises to 80%. So, of course, Legal aid is being cut.

      The Government has been caught lying with statistics, Iain Duncan Smith has been called before a Parliamentary Committee to account for this. You know something, he says he will not go and will send two civil servants instead.

      The Westminster Parties see no mileage in being fair. The disabled have been written off, no major party will stand up for them there

    27. velofello says:

      Ever the cynic, I wonder who will pick up the full order book of the Leven and Cowdebeath Remploy factories, the private sector perhaps? 
      Demand for nurses’ uniforms, biological oversuits etc etc will not disappear with the elimination of the Remploy production capacity. Reads like a conservative ploy to me.

    28. Adrian B says:

      @ Ian B
       
      RE Bedroom Tax – the savings to Westminster are minimal, but there are additional costs that  councils and housing associations must bear, not just the additional paperwork and bureaucracy to be handled by staff, but also the additional time spent finding solutions. We know that the Housing stock will not support this mad policy.
       
      The prospect of turning people out of their homes because of this ‘Bedroomtax’ is shameful. The added stress it must bring to many at a time where job creation is not a Westminster policy and many parts of the economy in these areas are two fragile to support meaningful job creation make it harder for many to keep their heads above water.
       
      Westminster truly has so much incomprehensible, mind numbingly selfish, I’m all right Jack policy that it beggars belief. 

    29. joe kane says:

      Only 3% of sacked Remploy workers have found new jobs.

      Reference – 
      35 of 1,000 sacked Remploy workers have found new jobs, says Labour
      Guardian 
      23 Nov 2013
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/23/remploy-workers-new-jobs- 

    30. A top quality article by Scott, with whose premise I agree wholeheatedly.

    31. Vincent McDee says:

      I’m going to have another shower.

    32. Davy says:

      To love your child do you put a price on it ? no of course you dont, it is with that same feelings that a compassionent and caring society does the right thing for its disadvantaged. The need to help our fellow citzens who have a disability to achieve a positive working life should be at the core of a fair and just society.
       
       The disgrace of how Labour and Tory-Libdem governments at Westminster have treated  the employees of “Remploy” is beyond belief, they can not see beyond the ‘£’ sign, they do not see the workers and their familys and the train wreck they are making of their lives. It is nothing more than pure meaness as they are a very soft target.
       
      I pray that with independence Scotland will look at the plight of the disabled unemployed and recreate a version of “Remploy” where the quality of a persons worth is shown in the quality of its society and government rather than the “bottom line of a balance sheet”.
       
      I believe our share in the upkeep and development of trident is over £200 million a year from Scotland, just think with that money of the quality of working life we the Scots could give to employees who need a little help. 
       
      If love of a parent comes without a price, should our society be any different.      
       
      Hail Caesar!. 

    33. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Velofello
       
      Who will pick up the machinery and at what price?
       
      Never underestimate the cunning of the Tories and their paymasters.

    34. Robert Bryce says:

      John Hannah says:
      This is the worst kind of Toryism I can think of. Someone said you can measure a society by the way they treat the poor and vulnerable. Well if the UK was measured on the smell scale, it would be absolutely poo pong stinking.
       
      It would stink like a shite’s arse!

    35. Jeannie says:

      A great article, Scott.  As if disabled people didn’t have enough to contend with already, there’s always well-paid, advantaged politicians who can find a way to put the boot in that bit more. 
       
      And if that’s not bad enough, the same politicians will then seek to use your case to seize the moral high ground, not to support you, but to throw political brickbats against their opponents even though they were, in fact, doing the same thing when they were in power.
       
      To strip disabled citizens of their sense of dignity and worth in this way is an act of wanton cruelty, in my opinion. 

    36. ianbrotherhood says:

      @AdrianB-
       
      Aye, it does beggar belief, and even more worrying is the attitude of many ‘ordinary’ citizens who don’t give it a second thought because ‘it doesn’t apply to me’.
       
      And who are these people who aren’t worried? From first-hand personal experience, they’re predominantly widows who are rattling about in two or three bedroomed ex-council houses, and of course, they’re pensioners so…the BT doesn’t apply to them.
       
      That alone gives the lie to any talk of the BT being austerity-driven and unavoidable. It isn’t. It’s a vindictive and antagonistic device to divide communities and capitalise on the MSM-generated hatred of ‘the poor’.
       
      The treatment of Remploy workers looks like more of the same.
       
      Who’s next for shaving?
       
       

    37. Stuart Black says:

      Great article, Scott, thank you for this. I hope any MSM journalists reading the above will be inspired to drop the regurgitation of SLAB press releases and do their job properly. Isn’t it disgraceful though? They can find money for <fill in your own favourite delusional empire/state funeral/huge bonus/MPs expenses/illegal war/WW1 celebration story>, but then allow a superbly run – by all accounts – venture of this nature, with its social benefits for disabled people, to be lost forever. Makes me very sad indeed.
       
      BTW, bought the Sunday Herald for the third week in a row, they deserve our support. Sadly Mr. Gardham is still polluting the weekday editions with his opinion pieces masquerading as political analysis. Ho-hum…

    38. The Man in the Jar says:

      Let us not forget the bill for policing the Orange walk in Glasgow and Coatbridge yesterday was £500,000. Money well spent?

    39. Arabs for Independence says:

      There is a much wider issue here that has largely been ignored in the Remploy debate: Whilst Gordon Brown was the PM he scrapped a disability and employment programme called Workstep which ran from around 1986. To cut a long story short,  Gordon Brown’s Labour Government ended all wage subsidies to employers who employ people with significant disabilities. He replaced the programme with Work Choice which has been an unmitigated disaster. The Sayce Report commissioned by Labour was the death Knell for Remploy and is hard to argue that the taxpayer pays around £20000 per year for someone to earn around £12000.
      There were and are better options than Remploy but the last Labour Government killed off the infrastructure to support disabled people getting into ordinary jobs
       
       

    40. joe kane says:

      Grassroots disabled activists argue that Remploy has been deliberately run into the ground, just like neoliberals do with every public service and public works they don’t like or want to sell for a song to their fellow neoliberal parasites outside Parliament – 

      Remploy Factory Closure Protest Friday 5th July 2013 12.15
      DPAC Disabled People Against Cuts
      http://dpac.uk.net/2013/07/remploy-factory-closure-protest-friday-5th-july-2013-12-15/

      “The government claimed that the factories were unviable and cited the millions it was costing them to prop up failing factories.  These millions were being spent on layers of non-disabled management including bonuses while they were running the factories into the ground. The many failings and inefficiencies of Remploy were not the fault of the workers who carried out skilled jobs and who are now having their livelihoods taken away from them.” 

    41. Murray McCallum says:

      When a disabled (physical and learning) person goes for a job interview it works the opposite way to what most of us are used to.  Regardless of their CV the majority of disabled people are judged on what they can’t do rather than what they can.  These workers will struggle to get any employment.  Their pride has been stripped from them.

    42. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Just back from the Aberdeen ‘Yes Scotland’ digital training and it was a very good talk…
       
      A special hello to Gizzit and Co who were very vocal in support of Wings over Scotland and spreading news of the site to others at the event.
       
      Hopefully we will have even more people in future willing to go online to argue the cause.

    43. Dramfineday says:

      Is this sort of barbarity not challengeable under the equality act of 2010 or similar? Surely this is an issue that some of the bodies “in the know” should be on to? And if not, why not? What kind of marker of a civilised society is this setting out? If this is what passes for good governance – it stinks. And as for Brown and co – what utter hypocrites.

    44. joe kane says:

      Ian Duncan Smith has wasted a billion pounds in taxpayers money on his utterly discredited and failed Workfare scheme. Unemployed workers are actually more likely to find a job if they’re not on the scheme, its that bad. The Westminster neoliberals have certainly got plenty of taxpayers money when it comes to providing free slaves for Poundland, Argos and Superdrug or when it comes to providing easy, risk-free profits for incompetent and inefficient DWP parasites such as A4e or Atos, 

      Is Workfare Behind the Work Programme Disaster?
      the void 
      22 Feb 2013
      http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/is-workfare-behind-the-work-programme-disaster/ 
      “With such poor results and lack of any decent training on the Work Programme, it could be assumed this is welfare-to-work on the cheap.  Yet the whole embarrassing shambles has been hugely expensive, with costs soon set to hit a billion pounds – around one quarter of the figure spent on unemployment benefits annually.
      To place this figure in context, this amount could have saved the Remploy factories from closure and prevented the scrapping of the Independent Living Fund for the most seriously disabled people, and still left millions to spare.”
       

    45. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      Nuclear power has to receive a subsidy in order to generate profits for private companies (what kind of capitalism is that supposed to be anyways?) and, by the way, also generates insanely poisonous pollutants which have no way of being neutralized – the Cumbrian method of throwing stuff in swimming pools and dumps or the Irish sea and letting it leak away is apparently not working so well. Remploy with a relatively tiny support produced real products made by real people with real jobs- no speculation,  no bad science and  no “creative” financing involved. Obviously the real reason these workplaces had to go was they were an embarrassment to a government  – and an opposition – that has sold itself to speculation, bad science and bad finances. Another shameful decision taken down south and imposed on Scotland by a government she neither chose nor deserves. 2014 seems a long way off, what with the barbarians looting the countryside and massacring the peasants right now.



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