Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey MP. Photo: UK Parliament (Open Government License).

The minister responsible for closing Remploy factories and then privatising the service is overseeing a new threat to disabled workers – with a scheme supporting more than 600 disabled people in Scotland set to close.

Esther McVey – who oversaw the closure of Remploy factories while disability minister then sold it off when Employment Minister – is now DWP Secretary of State and planning to means test employment support currently offered under the protected places scheme, which offers subsidies to employers who take on disabled staff.

According to documents seen by the Times newspaper, “ministers are working on a new scheme whereby disabled people would be means tested and interviewed to determine whether they deserve financial help”.

Those who qualify “would get help with travel and other expenses such as special computer keyboards”, the Times reports.

One source told the Times that “660 jobs are in jeopardy” if McVey decides to push ahead with the plans.

photo credit: BBC North East Wales via photopin cc

It comes after the Scottish Government announced £1 million of new funding to support disabled people into work.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin commented: “After closing Remploy factories in her old post and seeing thousands made redundant, it seems Esther McVey wants to finish the job and put even more disabled people out of work.

“It’s a disgrace that once again disabled workers risk being forced out of their jobs by an uncaring Tory government.

“And at a time when the Scottish Government are actively trying to support more disabled people into work, we’re once again left with one hand tied behind our backs.”

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