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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Employers to be paid £2,000 to hire young disabled people

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Employers will be paid more than £2,000 to take on severely disabled young people following the government’s decision to close two thirds of Remploy factories, leading to UK-wide industrial action today.

Under a three-year government scheme entitled ‘Work Choice’, financial incentives of up to £2,275 for each employee working 30 or more hours per week will be made available, while smaller subsidies will be paid to organisations taking on workers for between 16 and 29 hours a week.
 
The money will materialise after the recruit has been in the job for at least six months to ensure that employment is “sustainable”, although small companies will be able to claim £700 of the total after only two.
 
Work Choice is intended to complement the existing £100 million Access to Work scheme, which provides employers with specially adapted equipment, support workers and interpreters.
 
But by way of contrast, the Department of Work and Pensions attested that it spent £25,000 subsidising each job at Remploy, which amounted to a fifth of its £320 million a year budget for specialist employment services for disabled people.
 
The Remploy factories were established 66 years ago as part of the creation of the welfare state in order to employ disabled workers to make everything from furniture to packaging. Personnel now also undertake activities such as recycling electrical appliances and operating CCTV control rooms, however.
 
Maria Miller, minister for disabled people, said: “Young disabled people tell me they want the same job opportunities as everyone else and in every sector of the economy…This will not only help [them] gain practical experience in the workplace, but also showcase their talents and give them the edge in a tough jobs market.”
 
The news came as Remploy workers began their second walk-out this month over the planned factory closures, with a third stoppage scheduled to follow in August.
 
The unions claim that the closure this year of 36 out of a total of factories would lead to the loss of 2,800 jobs. The move would leave 18 more to be sold off by next year and a final nine left with an uncertain future.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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