MPs to debate future of Fife Remploy factories

Kim Cessford, Courier 13.10.11 - pictured at the Remploy factory, Cuddyhouse Road, Cowdenbeath where Gordon Brown MP visited for discussions on how he could help the threatened closure - sign at the factory
Kim Cessford, Courier 13.10.11 - pictured at the Remploy factory, Cuddyhouse Road, Cowdenbeath where Gordon Brown MP visited for discussions on how he could help the threatened closure - sign at the factory

A plan to save two Fife factories faced with closure will be the centrepiece of a debate called by Gordon Brown MP, Thomas Docherty MP and Lindsay Roy MP in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Mr Brown, with Mr Docherty and Mr Roy, will outline new financial proposals that, he says, are essential to prevent the closure of two well-established Fife textile factories run with disabled workers under Remploy in Cowdenbeath and Leven, which are now scheduled for privatisation or closure.

Mr Brown will say that the factories, which have been part of the fabric of the economy for 60 years, have full order books and a product with an acclaimed design and established market.

The product, he says, will survive, but may end up being produced in Asia because he fears that the economics of Government financial support point to closure or, at best, the decimation of the two factories’ workforce.

Mr Brown says that the Government’s transitional help as they move the factories from Government ownership to privatisation is ‘too miserly, too penny pinching’ to allow a decent chance of a rescue that saves the jobs of the disabled workers.

He says that even when the workers have halved a £1.66 million loss to a loss of just of £800,000 in one year, they are being given only months and, thus, insufficient time to make the transition to profitability.

Yet, he says that with a product that people want to buy, it is possible to engineer transitional arrangements that would provide for Fife’s disabled Remploy workers who want to stay in employment.

Mr Brown said: “If we cannot save these two factories which employ disabled men and women and which have a full order book, a renowned design, a successful product and an established market, it is unlikely that we will save many of the 50-plus Remploy factories around the United Kingdom.”

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