Remploy

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): But is not the truth that amid all the Minister’s spin and management-speak, she is strangling Remploy to death, and there is no prospect of the most vulnerable disabled workers in their 50s who work there all the time getting jobs in mainstream employment? By the way, her description of the 2008 programme is a total travesty. There was a £550 million subsidy for that, which she has cut savagely, and there was a programme for getting people into mainstream work, too. Also, she has given no guarantees, despite my asking the Secretary of State, and nor has the preferred bidder, who is based in Yorkshire, that the Neath Port Talbot site at Baglan will remain open. Can she give a guarantee on that now?

Esther McVey: I have a couple of points to make to the right hon. Gentleman. There was no spin in what I said; those were the numbers, and he is more than welcome to verify them. As for his comment about strangling, that is incorrect, too. I would say “liberating”. That is why some of the factories that closed have reopened and we are supporting them as best we can. If I were him, I would claim no credit for spending £555 million in 2008 on a modernisation process that went nowhere, or for estimates for contracts in the public sector that were grossly exaggerated—by 130%—and which never came to pass. Ours are real, they have been justified, they are monitored by an expert panel and KPMG is involved as well.