HC Deb 17 February 1948 vol 447 cc983-4
41. Squadron-Leader Fleming

asked the Minister of Labour the numbers of insured workers employed by firms having quota obligations under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act in Manchester; the numbers of registered disabled persons and the numbers of such persons unemployed in the Manchester district; and the quota which would need to be observed to reduce unemployment amongst the disabled to that obtaining for all insured workers in the Manchester district.

Mr. Isaacs

The information requested in the first part of the Question is not available. The number of persons registered as disabled in Manchester is 21,456, of whom 1,508 were unemployed on 19th January last. It is not possible to make the calculation asked for in the last pat t of the Question.

Squadron-Leader Fleming

Would the Minister agree that if the quota were increased from 3 per cent. to 4 per cent. it would absorb the thousand-odd unemployed in this category?

Mr. Isaacs

That is purely a hypothetical question, but upon that hypothesis I am sure that the answer would be "No."

Mr. Mikardo

Before considering whether the quota ought to be increased, will my right hon. Friend say whether he is satisfied that all those who are obligated under the existing arrangements to employ 3 per cent. are, in fact, carrying out their obligations; and, if the answer in some cases is in the negative, what steps does he propose to take to ensure that they do?

Mr. Isaacs

The examination of these cases is proceeding extensively. We find that, in the main, the quota is maintained, but it must be borne in mind that a firm cannot be compelled to make up the number required by the quota until there is a vacancy. A firm is not expected to dismiss a capable man to make way for a disabled man, but when a vacancy occurs we insist upon firms meeting their obligations in this respect.