The Remploy factories make components for the automotive industry

Remploy automotive factories saved by buy-out

Three former Remploy factories have been bought by an automotive business, saving the jobs of more than 200 workers, most of whom have disabilities.

The factories make components for car firms including Jaguar Land Rover and Ford, and the announcement is a rare piece of good news for Remploy, an organisation owned by the Department for Work and Pensions that provides employment placement services for disabled people.

Most Remploy factories have closed after the Government decided to switch spending to help individuals find jobs rather than subsidising factories, setting up a multimillion-pound package of employment support for those affected.

But buyer Arlington Industries Group, who bought the automotive business that is based in Coventry, Birmingham and Derby, says it plans to expand the business and rename it Rempower with Kevin Morley, a former managing director of the Rover group, chairing it.

"We aim to grow the business and we plan to increase the number of employees," he said. "The most important thing is that this will benefit disabled people. If we can take out a piece of machinery and replace it with three disabled workers, we will. In a way we are turning the normal order of business on its head."

Arlington Industries chairman David Roberts added: "We have bought the business with a sense of social responsibility, and we have very ambitious plans for the future.

"It is an excellent addition to our global business. We see it as a unique business, representing the very best in corporate social responsibility and advanced manufacturing and assembly."

The company said it will launch an apprenticeship scheme as part of its growth plans for the factories.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said: "Our priority throughout the whole Remploy process was the sustainable employment of disabled people.

"These jobs will now have a more certain future, with potentially more jobs for these areas. I'd also like to encourage other former Remploy workers to take up our tailored £8m jobs support package if they haven't already done so."

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