Wales politics

Remploy factory closures defended by minister

Margaret Foster
Image caption Margaret Foster has not worked for four years

The closure of factories set up to employ disabled people in Wales has been defended by the UK government.

The case of Margaret Foster, who has cerebral palsy and worked at Remploy in Wrexham for 26 years, was raised in parliament by her MP.

Wrexham Labour MP Ian Lucas said Ms Foster had not had a job since the factory closed four years ago.

But he was told it had cost £22,500 a year to support each disabled worker in a Remploy factory.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson added that many people who lost their job when the factories closed had since found work and offered to meet Mr Lucas to discuss Ms Foster's specific case.

Image caption Wrexham Labour MP Ian Lucas raised Margaret Foster's case in parliament

Mr Lucas criticised the system that offered Ms Foster some disability benefits but denied her employment and support allowance.

He said: "How can it be that we have a disability benefits system that presents a case like Margaret, a woman who wants help to work, and is disabled, and has been from birth, but does not qualify for the benefit put in place by the government which is supposedly to support her into work?"

Ms Foster told BBC Wales: "I don't feel like I'm getting enough support."

Remploy factories were established 67 years ago to create jobs for people with disabilities.

Seven of Wales' nine Remploy factories were closed by the UK government in 2012 because they were deemed "unviable".

Image copyright PA

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