David Stewart MSP

Stewart calls for Highland Council to Give Hand-up to Highland Blincraft

29 January 2010

Speaking in a members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament, David Stewart, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP has called on Highland Council to give Highland Blindcraft a hand-up by increasing trade with them.

Mr Stewart commented, “These are difficult times for employers, but particularly for organisations with supported work places.

“This Inverness factory has been in operation for over 140 years and their current percentage of disabled employees is well over 75%, easily exceeding the 50% necessary for the factory to be classed as a supported factory.

“Much progress has been made improving Highland Blindcraft’s financial situation but without council help the future viability of the factory is uncertain.

“Factory staff are currently on a 4 day week and have been for 18 months but if it were possible to increase trade between the organisation and the council this would improve their viability which in turn would result in the factory workers returning to 5 day a week employment.”

“An EU public procurement directive allows public sector contracts to be reserved for workplaces where more than 50% of the workforce is disabled to ensure procurement through supported businesses wherever possible.

“I have met with the general manager and chair of Highland Blindcraft and enjoyed a visit to the factory showroom.

“I have also written this week to Highland Council asking them to look at contracting work to Highland Blindcraft under the terms of the EU public procurement directive.

“If trade levels with the factory were increased it would provide stability and ensure financial viability.”

Mr Stewart added, “Those workers employed by Highland Blindcraft are unable to compete in the open labour market and the employment provided by the factory is vital to them.

“I trust Highland Council will do all within their power to accommodate a contract for Highland Blindcraft.”

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Written by davidstewart

January 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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