A UNION official has spoken out about the planned privatisation of a workplace scheme for the disabled.

Ken Stubbs, a branch secretary for the GMB’s Northern region, in Spennymoor, County Durham, is against any privatisation of Remploy which provides jobs for disabled workers.

Plans to sell off Remploy have been announced by Esther McVey, the Conservative Minister for Employment.

Loading article content

The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) hopes to find a private buyer by March 2015.

Mr Stubbs, who was based at the former Spennymoor Remploy factory, said: “The GMB needs to discuss this.

“The Government probably has someone lined up to take Remploy on.

“I think the Government wants to free up money by removing Remploy in order to raise the funds to run its own Work Programme to get people into jobs.”

Remploy has closed all of its North-East factories which were based in Spennymoor, County Durham, Newcastle, Gateshead, Ashington and Sunderland with the loss of 170 jobs.

The Government hopes that by privatising Remploy it will allow further funding to be invested into the scheme.

However, a DWP spokesman denied the sale was to raise funds for the Work Programme scheme.

He said: “I don’t think that is the case at all. I don’t think that the Government is out to make a lot of money from the sale of Remploy.”

Beth Carruthers, Remploy chief executive, said: “The Government’s announcement provides us with an exciting opportunity to expand and grow and support many more disabled people.

“Moving out of the public sector will give us the freedom to raise funding to operate in a much more commercial and competitive way.”

It is hoped that all current employees of Remploy will transfer to any new company which takes it on.