The Government has confirmed that it is to close 27 Remploy factories by the end of the year. A further 9 factories, all of which employ disabled workers, have been the subject of bids which are still under consultation.

Disability Minister Maria Miller confirmed this in a statement to the House of Commons yesterday. She reiterated that the £320 million budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively elsewhere.Remploy’s factories undertake a diverse range of work, from manufacturing furniture, to recycling electrical appliances and operating CCTV systems and control rooms.Trades unions have reacted angrily to this news.

Unite national officer Sally Kosky said: “[This] announcement has come totally out of the blue with the government and Iain Duncan Smith showing a callous disregard for vulnerable disabled workers. He’s lived up to his own description of being the ‘quiet man’, by getting a junior minister to try and bury bad news ahead of the Lords reform debate.“Our members are desperate to work in an environment that takes account of their disability, where they can make a valued contribution to society and pay their way. They do not want to be thrown on the scrap heap and relying on handouts.”

Phil Davies, GMB national secretary, added: “Remploy workers will feel deeply let down by this decision. It makes no economic sense and consigns vulnerable workers to the dole queue at a time of recession, when jobs are hard to find.”Two one-day strikes by Remploy workers on July 19 and 26 in protest at the closures are still planned. A continuous overtime ban is set to start tomorrow (July 12).