Automotive firm buys Remploy plants

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

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Most Remploy factories have closed after the Government switched spending

Arlington Industries Group said it planned to expand the business, which is based in three areas, Coventry, Birmingham and Derby.

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.

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.

The automotive business will be renamed Rempower, chaired by Kevin Morley, a former managing director of the Rover group.

"We aim to grow the business and we plan to increase the number of employees," he told the Press Association.

"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 £8 million jobs support package if they haven't already done so."