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Remploy Factories

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 7 July 1949

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asked the Minister of Labour how many Remploy factories were opened by the Disabled Persons Employment Corporation in 1946, 1947 and 1948, respectively; how many are now in operation; how many it is planned to provide; and when the programme will be completed.

In the first place, I should like to announce that as from 1st July, the Corporation will be known as Remploy, Ltd., which hon. Members will agree is a more concise and descriptive title for this body.In 1946, the number of Remploy factories opened was four; nine were opened in 1947 and 20 in 1948. The number now open is 67—an increase of 34 since the beginning of this year. This rapid rate of increase in recent months, which is a great credit to the Corporation, has given rise to serious problems of organisation, production and marketing. While necessary steps have been taken to strengthen the organisation, the Board of the Corporation have represented to me that, if the commercial prospects of the factories are to be reasonably assured, it is important in the best interests of the severely disabled themselves that the Corporation should not be overloaded at this stage of its development, and that men should not be taken on faster than they can be efficiently trained and successfully employed. I have considered the whole matter very carefully with the Board, and I am impressed by the fact that in the long run it would be a false kindness to the severely disabled to jeopardise the success of the Corporation by over-hasty expansion at the present stage.There are now 18 additional factories in various stages of completion, and I have agreed with the Corporation that they should come into operation as they become available. But with regard to the remainder of the Corporation's programme, involving 56 factories, I have had to agree that the rate of building should be phased so as not to put an undue strain on the organisation. This means that there will be 79 factories in operation at the end of this year, and that there will be some slowing down thereafter involving some delay in the provision of those factories where building has not yet started. But I am satisfied that, if these factories are to give steady employment, they must first establish themselves securely as efficient production units, and they can only do this if they are given a chance of orderly and progressive development.I am aware that this statement may cause some disappointment to hon. Members, particularly to those interested in Remploy factories yet to be opened, and I have arranged for a meeting to be held in Committee Room 10 at 4 p.m. on 12th July to meet the Chairman of Remploy Ltd., and myself.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will indicate the nature of the productive activities carried on at each of the Remploy factories in South Wales.

Following is the information:

Black woodLink mats, Colliery conveyor belting.
BridgendBookshelves, kitchen furniture, violins, repair of beds, industrial leatherwork.
PorthSimple furniture.
SwanseaStillage and kitchen woodware packing cases.
TonyrefailAssembling kitchen woodware and office equipment. Machining components for Treforest.
TreforestWriting tables, draining boards, packing cases and machining of components for other Remploy Factories.
TreorchySimple furniture.
YstradgynlaisBookshelves, occasional tables radio sets.

asked the Minister of Labour how many disabled persons are at present engaged at the respective Remploy factories situate at Tonyrefail, Treorchy, Porth and Treforest; and when the last batch of trainees were placed at each factory.

Following is the information:

Number of severely disabled persons employed at 4.1.49.Date of last intake