More than 150 workers at Remploy factories across the region will lose their jobs.
A total of five factories will be affected - Spennymoor, Gateshead, Newcastle, and Ashington in the North East, and Cleator Moor in Cumbria.
The move has provoked anger from workers and some Labour MPs who've called it 'a cruel act'. But ministers insist that many disability groups now accept that it is no longer appropriate to have segregated workplaces.
An £8 million support programme has been put in place to support those affected.
The Bishop Auckland MP has questioned the decision to close 36 Remploy factories with the loss of up to 1700 jobs.
One of the factories is within Helen Goodman's constituency at Spennymoor.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg - standing in for David Cameron who is in the United States - said the decision was supported by charities such as Mind and Mencap. He also said integrated workplaces were more appropriate for the 21st century