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In time, wrong time

by In Wales Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 07:39:27 AM EST

In time the inevitable happens.

We are in an odd environment as far as I can see.  Tools/products of socialism (National Health Service, welfare state) are being picked apart and those most needing just a little bit of respite in this environment are being tied to the end of the battering ram.

I have many professional hats and the UK Government's announcements about the upcoming closure of Remploy factories has been snapping at my heels for the last few days.

BBC News - Remploy plans factory closures with 1,700 job losses

Remploy - which provides work for people with disabilities - is planning to close 36 of its 54 factories, putting more than 1,700 jobs at risk.

Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said the sites could be closed by the end of the year as they were not financially viable.

Remploy factories were set up in the post war 1940s to give disabled veterans jobs. In its current form, Remploy consists of a number of factories that employ disabled people, providing heavily subsidised jobs but an environment where those with complex needs are able to work. There are other services offered but the main target is the factories, the majority of which run at a massive loss. Welfare reform, benefit cuts, further restrictions on Access to Work funding, bigger sanctions for those who are unemployed, all falling heavily on disabled people. But they aren't quite done yet, Remploy needs scooping up too.

If that sounds cynical then more cynical is my claim that the UK Government has hijacked the language of the disability equality movement in order to justify pulling the plug on the factories and leaving hundreds of disabled workers without jobs. Despite all the blathering from the Government about support packages, there are no jobs for these workers to go to, some have very complex needs that can't be easily accommodated in mainstream workplaces, and in all reality these workers won't have access to good quality mainstream jobs. They will join the very back of the damn queue.

But the situation is complicated by the policy of disability organisations across the UK, one of which I am a Director for. Disability equality calls for disabled people to have equal opportunities to access all areas of life as any other person.  In this respect, segregated workplaces are missing the point.  Although Remploy factories provide tailored support and provide access to employment that doesn't exist elsewhere, the point is, all workplaces should be accessible and all disabled people who wish to should be able to secure and keep good quality mainstream jobs.

So it makes Remploy an easy target under the auspices of "this is what disabled people themselves are calling for".  The reality is these people will lose their jobs, get some token short-term 'support' to transition into a mainstream environment that largely will not stick. We'll all carry on marginalising disabled people and trapping the majority of them in poverty because they can't access meaningful employment opportunities.

Counter-productive here is the way in which disability organisations are coming under attack for keeping the line that mainstreaming is the ultimate aim.  Disability organisations recognise that for those losing their jobs in Remploy, it is devastating.  They recognise that the timing of the closures is appalling, there are no jobs to move people to. In the current economic climate, attitudes towards disabled people are very poor, disability hate crime is up and there is a woefully inadequate infrastructure for supporting disabled people in mainstream employment as it is.

I don't need a professional hat to say that, I know it from personal experience.

The UK Government has moved to the closure of Remploy factories for all the wrong reasons, whilst deliberately misrepresenting calls for disability equality.  This is where the anger needs to be directed, not at those who are part of a life long fight to be able to have the same access to making choices about life, work and their place in mainstream society, as everyone else.

Wishing for meaningful improvement for the rights and realities of disabled people in the UK.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 02:37:58 PM EST
You would think Cameron, having a disabled child, would understand. In fact he campaigned on his child's disability.

Until you realise Cameron's child is a wealthy disabled child - he doesn't need Remploy, or any Government assistance to overcome mainstream barriers. He can pay his way.

Then again, Cameron bears brunt of anger at funding cuts for care of disabled (21 January 2011)

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 05:29:43 AM EST
Also, Cameron's article is all about what the parents and carers need. There's nothing about the disabled child himself. Maybe because Cameron's child was, in his own words, profoundly disabled. And he died in childhood.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 05:56:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You would also think that Cameron, having having been a member of the Bullingdon Club, would understand inner city kids who riot and smash up shops.

Until you realise, etc.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 05:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We need to talk about Ivan « sturdyblog
He has presided over an unprecedented, concerted campaign against the NHS. So much so, that the very unit in which his child died is threatened with closure. To do this while citing his personal experiences to silence his critics, is unspeakably wicked.

This article is worth reading all the way through.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:20:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet another step back towards Dickensian conditions packaged as a supposedly positive reform. I once wrote:

A conservative is one who sells the mistakes of yesterday as solutions for tomorrow.

What conservatives want to conserve is the illusion of a past golden age, so that all the problems that were hidden behind the facades can be ignored.

The only thing conservative politicians want to conserve is their power - secured and expanded by all means.

The only moral all conservatives follow: forgive the sins of fellow conservatives.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 06:04:19 AM EST
wise beyond your years

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 12:42:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"disability hate crime is up"

That such a thing even exists is mind-boggling, let alone that it should be increasing.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 04:09:00 AM EST
Why? Bullies have always picked on those they see as different.

"Bullying is up" is not mind-boggling.

Reports of violent crime should be on the rise as the crisis bites.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 04:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also the pariah-factor. When a groups social status is low enough, members of the group will be attacked for belonging to the group. If status goes lower, attacks increase.

Disabled loosing what rights there was is a clear sign of loosing status, so there should be no surprise that attacks are up.

Pack animals do have some really ugly sides.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 18th, 2012 at 01:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I fear this reminds me very much of the cuts to mental health provision in the 80s under Thatcher.

Let's be very clear, many of the mental institutions that were closed desperately needed to be closed - they were barbaric places and I don't think they could even have been reformed.

But - despite all the promises - "care in the community" actually meant "no care" and many people ended up homeless - many died of cold and hunger in great distress.

I don't know how we fight this tactic more than we fight it already.

I'd guess that mainstreaming needs to be linked to the rest of a left of centre economic agenda.

Equally, perhaps it would have been better to campaign to keep Remploy at least until general unemployment was below a decent threshold. Throwing any people into the job market at this time is a cruelty, because the truth is that there are few jobs out there.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 05:33:24 AM EST
perhaps it would have been better to campaign to keep Remploy at least until general unemployment was below a decent threshold

In some respects, this has been happening in Wales in terms of politicians, Remploy and unions trying to secure alternatives (social enterprise, "Remploy Wales") but the 7 factories to be closed here made a loss of £7m last year between them.  Not a gap the Welsh Government can fill and no funds will be passed over to Wales to support our factories.

BBC News - Remploy closures: Devolution idea for Welsh factories rejected

The UK government has again rejected a request to devolve responsibility to the Welsh government for Remploy factories which are set to close.

In the House of Lords, Labour peer Lord Touhig raised the Welsh government's offer to take over the budget with UK government whip Lord de Mauley.

The timing is absolutely appalling and the Sayce Review has been heavily criticised for recommending the closure of the factories.  Liz Sayce is a high profile disability rights campaigner and the Government has quite happily hijacked the aspirations for genuine mainstreaming of employment opportunities to suit their agenda.

The reality is, even when employment rates were higher before the crisis, the world of work wasn't inclusive very often. There is no real political push to actually recognise the situation and invest in the infrastructure needed to make a real difference for disabled people trying to access the labour market.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:45:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're absolutely right that the world of work was far from inclusive, even when the economy was better but it's worth pointing our that the loss of £7 million is a very biased figure in the current economy.

In the current economy we can virtually guarantee that each person will end up on benefits. So there won't be a saving of £7 million...

Taking this From a Guardian article:

The average subsidy for each job in the factories is £25,000 a year.

I don't know the benefits levels of the typical Remploy worker, but I'm sure some interesting calculations could be done, especially if we throw in externalities (like extra health care required because of not working, etc.)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 02:37:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well someone calculated a couple of years ago that the cost is 21,300,

The only way to cut government debt is to increase government spending » Tax Research UK

The total lost to the government if this person loses their job in the private sector is the addition of the total contribution lost plus the total cost paid. That is £21,300.

 but they appear to have avoided the admin costs required

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 04:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Disabled staff are sacked... via the news

FURIOUS MPs are bombarding the Government for disrespecting disabled workers who only found out they were being sacked on the news.

They want to know why hundreds of Remploy staff were not told in advance their jobs were being axed, and why the decision was "sneaked out" six minutes too late for MPs to raise it in the Commons.

News that 36 of the 54 Remploy factories are to close, with the loss of 1,518 jobs for disabled people, has provoked outrage across the country, with hundreds of readers backing the Sunday Express crusade to save the factories.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 18th, 2012 at 11:20:18 AM EST

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