UPDATED: Loss-making Dorset Enterprises factory will close

Bournemouth Echo: The Dorset Enterprises factory in West Howe The Dorset Enterprises factory in West Howe

A LAST-ditch stand by disabled workers failed to save the Dorset Enterprises factory from the axe.

Factory workers and union members braved the cold outside Bournemouth Town Hall to try and persuade councillors to keep the West Howe factory open.

But their efforts were unsuccessful and cabinet members unanimously agreed to shut the factory and make all 23 workers redundant on March 31.

Councillors said they could no longer continue to subsidise the factory, which is currently running at a loss of more than £400,000 a year, but said they hoped to find a partner organisation which would continue to employ disabled people on the Elliott Road site.

Cllr Blair Crawford, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “I'm sorry about the pain but how can we justify subsidy of that amount when we are required to meet the needs of other people in the borough with substantial and critical needs?

“I believe we can move to a model that can provide more opportunities for people with disabilities.”

His words were echoed by council leader Cllr John Beesley, who said: “It wouldn't be true for anybody to leave here today believing the council has made a decision and is now washing its hands of the process - nothing could be further from the truth.”

But disappointed workers and their families were far from reassured. Jean Girling, whose deaf and autistic son has worked there for 16 years, said: “It's disgusting. I feel the council has got no social conscience at all.

“That factory has been allowed to become non-profit making. I feel Bournemouth council should take responsibility. They've allowed this situation to develop yet they waste money on so many other things, like the surf reef, Imax and BIC.”

And Jenny Scott, who has worked there for 34 years, said: “I'm a bit disappointed, I will miss my friends. I would like to think I can do something else but I just don't know what yet.”

Labour Cllr Dennis Gritt said: “It's a disgraceful way to treat employees with difficulties. We should be supporting them, not sacking them. They are easy targets.”

Comments (7)

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1:56pm Wed 16 Jan 13

TD61 says...

As far as I can see, the council have deliberately let this factory run at a huge loss in order to ultimately close it down.

Just as the government are vilifying the disabled into getting jobs and off benefits, this factory and others like it close ........ it doesn't make sense to have let it run at such a high loss for so long - nor to put disabled people who actually WANT to work, on the scrap heap.

Whoever at the council has allowed this situation to arise should be fired immediately and without the benefit of a golden handshake, because lets face, none of the disabled workers will be getting one will they!
As far as I can see, the council have deliberately let this factory run at a huge loss in order to ultimately close it down. Just as the government are vilifying the disabled into getting jobs and off benefits, this factory and others like it close ........ it doesn't make sense to have let it run at such a high loss for so long - nor to put disabled people who actually WANT to work, on the scrap heap. Whoever at the council has allowed this situation to arise should be fired immediately and without the benefit of a golden handshake, because lets face, none of the disabled workers will be getting one will they! TD61

4:06pm Wed 16 Jan 13

BmthNewshound says...

No surprise, when it comes to the disabled and vulnerable Bournemouth Council have consistently shown a complete lack of compassion. Cuts to day centres, to care, and now this. The message from the Town Hall couldn’t be clearer – Disabled people are not welcome in Bournemouth.
.
Beesley runs the Council like it was his own little fiefdom, surrounding himself with his cronies in the cabinet who simply rubber stamp his decisions. Its amazing how Beesley is quite happy to make savings by targeting the disabled and vulnerable but not so keen to work towards cutting costs when it comes to the cost of running the Council chamber. Beesley really is a very unpleasant individual – I have it on good authority that he’s not even popular with his brother masons.
.
So what now for the factory. No doubt Beesley has a private property developer lined up to make a nice profit from developing the site. What’s also worth noting is that while Conor Burns MP campaigned against the closure of the Remploy factory in Poole he has remained curiously quiet about the closure of Dorset Enterprises – obviously doesn’t want to upset his friend, Mr Beesley.
No surprise, when it comes to the disabled and vulnerable Bournemouth Council have consistently shown a complete lack of compassion. Cuts to day centres, to care, and now this. The message from the Town Hall couldn’t be clearer – Disabled people are not welcome in Bournemouth. . Beesley runs the Council like it was his own little fiefdom, surrounding himself with his cronies in the cabinet who simply rubber stamp his decisions. Its amazing how Beesley is quite happy to make savings by targeting the disabled and vulnerable but not so keen to work towards cutting costs when it comes to the cost of running the Council chamber. Beesley really is a very unpleasant individual – I have it on good authority that he’s not even popular with his brother masons. . So what now for the factory. No doubt Beesley has a private property developer lined up to make a nice profit from developing the site. What’s also worth noting is that while Conor Burns MP campaigned against the closure of the Remploy factory in Poole he has remained curiously quiet about the closure of Dorset Enterprises – obviously doesn’t want to upset his friend, Mr Beesley. BmthNewshound

4:49pm Wed 16 Jan 13

step up says...

BmthNewshound wrote:
No surprise, when it comes to the disabled and vulnerable Bournemouth Council have consistently shown a complete lack of compassion. Cuts to day centres, to care, and now this. The message from the Town Hall couldn’t be clearer – Disabled people are not welcome in Bournemouth.
.
Beesley runs the Council like it was his own little fiefdom, surrounding himself with his cronies in the cabinet who simply rubber stamp his decisions. Its amazing how Beesley is quite happy to make savings by targeting the disabled and vulnerable but not so keen to work towards cutting costs when it comes to the cost of running the Council chamber. Beesley really is a very unpleasant individual – I have it on good authority that he’s not even popular with his brother masons.
.
So what now for the factory. No doubt Beesley has a private property developer lined up to make a nice profit from developing the site. What’s also worth noting is that while Conor Burns MP campaigned against the closure of the Remploy factory in Poole he has remained curiously quiet about the closure of Dorset Enterprises – obviously doesn’t want to upset his friend, Mr Beesley.
About sums it up nicely. Nice to see Labours Cllr Gritt there to support the vulnerable. This Tory administration are ruthlessly trashing the lives of the most needy will business as usual for them. Disgusting bunch of people. They made this fail by sacking the management that was making it not only break even but be in profit. Soon as came from Dorset council to Bournemouth Council begins to be dismantled. You Tory voters out there...happy with what you got? Stamping on folk who need support..rotten town under this lot.
[quote][p][bold]BmthNewshound[/bold] wrote: No surprise, when it comes to the disabled and vulnerable Bournemouth Council have consistently shown a complete lack of compassion. Cuts to day centres, to care, and now this. The message from the Town Hall couldn’t be clearer – Disabled people are not welcome in Bournemouth. . Beesley runs the Council like it was his own little fiefdom, surrounding himself with his cronies in the cabinet who simply rubber stamp his decisions. Its amazing how Beesley is quite happy to make savings by targeting the disabled and vulnerable but not so keen to work towards cutting costs when it comes to the cost of running the Council chamber. Beesley really is a very unpleasant individual – I have it on good authority that he’s not even popular with his brother masons. . So what now for the factory. No doubt Beesley has a private property developer lined up to make a nice profit from developing the site. What’s also worth noting is that while Conor Burns MP campaigned against the closure of the Remploy factory in Poole he has remained curiously quiet about the closure of Dorset Enterprises – obviously doesn’t want to upset his friend, Mr Beesley.[/p][/quote]About sums it up nicely. Nice to see Labours Cllr Gritt there to support the vulnerable. This Tory administration are ruthlessly trashing the lives of the most needy will business as usual for them. Disgusting bunch of people. They made this fail by sacking the management that was making it not only break even but be in profit. Soon as came from Dorset council to Bournemouth Council begins to be dismantled. You Tory voters out there...happy with what you got? Stamping on folk who need support..rotten town under this lot. step up

5:57pm Wed 16 Jan 13

anigel says...

At nearly half a million pound loss a year, then sorry but people should be complaining if it wasn't shut down.
At nearly half a million pound loss a year, then sorry but people should be complaining if it wasn't shut down. anigel

6:10pm Wed 16 Jan 13

The Timelord says...

Now there's a good idea - let's save half a million pound on this council funded business venture just to spend the same money on benefits and retraining - another resounding success and clear thinking from good old Bournemouth Council.
Must be different budgets but it's still our council tax and I bet we won't see it coming off our bills in April.
Now there's a good idea - let's save half a million pound on this council funded business venture just to spend the same money on benefits and retraining - another resounding success and clear thinking from good old Bournemouth Council. Must be different budgets but it's still our council tax and I bet we won't see it coming off our bills in April. The Timelord

6:25pm Wed 16 Jan 13

Bluestew says...

Lack of commitment and mismanagement from the Council led to continued fall in profits which then becomes a contender in the agenda of cuts. Resigning disabled people to the benefits system will certainly not cost less. The cost of these people losing their jobs will affect health, esteem, financial independence and ripple through the individuals families affecting all to the detriment of all and to a caring community.

I can only see Bournemouth Council mirroring the national Governmental agenda of stigmatising and undermining the disabled with idealogical cuts and social ostracism and demonising them for claiming benefits.
Cllr Beesley states that he will not wash his hands of the process.....we shall be watching to keep him to his words.
Lack of commitment and mismanagement from the Council led to continued fall in profits which then becomes a contender in the agenda of cuts. Resigning disabled people to the benefits system will certainly not cost less. The cost of these people losing their jobs will affect health, esteem, financial independence and ripple through the individuals families affecting all to the detriment of all and to a caring community. I can only see Bournemouth Council mirroring the national Governmental agenda of stigmatising and undermining the disabled with idealogical cuts and social ostracism and demonising them for claiming benefits. Cllr Beesley states that he will not wash his hands of the process.....we shall be watching to keep him to his words. Bluestew

8:42pm Wed 16 Jan 13

rayc says...

Should any factory be paid for by local tax payer when it is inefficient compared to its competitors? Even if the council continued to subsidies it would the products be competitive? Who are their prospective customers, will they pay a premium price for the product or go to the cheapest? How many other manufacturing enterprises does the council fund?
I have the up most sympathy for workers, who want to do a good job in line with their capabilities and have the satisfaction and independance that having a job brings. I just don't understand how the venture can be successful in a competitive world - even the British car industry found that out the hard way.
Should any factory be paid for by local tax payer when it is inefficient compared to its competitors? Even if the council continued to subsidies it would the products be competitive? Who are their prospective customers, will they pay a premium price for the product or go to the cheapest? How many other manufacturing enterprises does the council fund? I have the up most sympathy for workers, who want to do a good job in line with their capabilities and have the satisfaction and independance that having a job brings. I just don't understand how the venture can be successful in a competitive world - even the British car industry found that out the hard way. rayc

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