This is not a savings measure. I know that the hon. Lady is very concerned about this matter on behalf of those of her constituents who work in Remploy factories, but I assure her that we are trying to ensure that the money is used more effectively, so more of her constituents can get the support they need. It simply cannota be right for us to continue to let the factories lose £68 million a year—and cumulatively more than £200 million over the modernisation plan period—when we could be using that money more effectively to support more disabled people into employment.
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I thank the Minister for that answer, but I am concerned about the way this difficult decision will be reported. Will she make it clear that the decision has not been taken in order to cut public expenditure, and that instead more money will be going towards enabling disabled people to live and work independently, free of prejudice, with support, so they can do what they want to do in their lives?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I put the following simple fact to the House: as a result of what we are announcing today, 8,000 more disabled people throughout the country will have the opportunity to move into work, compared with 1,500 people who work in Remploy factories and who will be affected. In these difficult economic times, we have to take tough decisions, but this is a decision that is about much more than that; it is about the sort of country we are—a country that wants to have disabled people included at the heart of our communities instead of in segregated factories.