HC Deb 18 March 1942 vol 378 c1515
59. Mr. Storey

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that some workshops for the blind have no Government work on hand and, in consequence of the need of finding employment for their workers, are using materials which are hard to replace to meet non-essential civilian requirements; and whether he will, therefore, give instructions that the National Association of Workshops for the Blind shall be asked to tender for all Government requirements capable of manufacture by blind workers?

Sir A. Duncan

Workshops for the Blind are always given special consideration when contracts are placed for stores which those institutions are capable of producing. The contracts are placed through the National Association of Workshops for the Blind. I am not aware of the cases to which my hon. Friend refers, but we are in communication with the National Association on the subject.

Mr. Storey

As the National Association for the Blind have not recently been invited to tender for such things as baskets, hosiery, and bedding, are we to understand that the Ministry require no supplies of these articles, and is my right hon. Friend aware that the National Association have never been invited to tender for the huge quantities of mattresses required by the Services?

Sir A. Duncan

The requirements vary from time to time, but I am most willing to discuss all possibilities with the Association.

Mr. Woods

Will the Minister make special inquiry as to how far the blind can be more fully used in the war effort with their highly sensitive touch and keen sense of hearing?

Sir A. Duncan

Certainly, Sir. I am in full accord.