Yesterday it was announced up to two-thirds of the sheltered workplaces operated by Remploy -a non for profit organization in the UK - the result of a change in Government policy regarding money used for helping disabled people of working age.
The Minister said by using this money instead to help secure employment by the majoriy of disabled people this was a better use of taxpayers money.
It is true that a majority of disabled people are out of work often through employer prejudice, limited opportunities as well as being virtually impossible to place in gainful employment.
What this new policy does effect however are that portion who do not have relatively minor physical disabilities alone but those who may also have emotional, sight, behavioural and others where it may not just a question of getting them in the building but of requiring considerable long term support and not just work related support. It may mean helping them to find groups to socialize with or organizing collective activities where they will be amongst friends and understood.
All to often the emotional impact of being disabled being both unable to do things and misunderstood by others is underestimated.
There was and I believe still is a fashionable view held that "All disabled people want to be out in the community" and not to have special facilities calling them 'patronizing' and while I'm pro-independence, it is a sad fact that some simply could not exist in mainstream employment isolated from like minded people.
I think it is also worth saying government policy hasn't just been with this kind of provision as for as long as I can recall personally, money had been available for transport to work for those unable to drive through their disablity to a job and say unable to use public transportation, providing extra equipment to help a person in post and so on.
It's also been the case for at least 15 years of my knowledge this has been cut back just as the cry from the political right about "workshy disabled peple" has been mounting.
I suspect it's to paper over these cracks the grant to Remploy is to be cut leading to these closures that wil undenibly hit those least about to find alternative work.