HC Deb 01 December 1955 vol 546 cc2480-2
2. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Labour the numbers of any increase or decrease of disabled workers and of non-disabled persons, respectively, employed by Remploy Limited, at the latest convenient date, compared with 30th June, 1955.

The Minister of Labour and National Service (Sir Walter Monckton)

Between 21st June and 11th October, 1955, the number of severely disabled persons fell by 168 and other workers by 24.

3. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons employed by Remploy Limited, at 1st January, 30th June, and 31st October, 1955, respectively.

Sir W. Monckton

The numbers of persons employed by Remploy Limited on 4th January, 21st June and 11th October, the nearest dates for which information is available, were 8,705, 8,134 and 7,942 respectively.

Mr. Collins

Does the Minister appreciate that his reply is as disappointing to us as it must be to him? Will he use his utmost efforts to increase the numbers, and, in particular, have regard to the fact that of the new trainees, many are transferred to open industry, and there is, unfortunately, a wastage for other reasons? Will he therefore give an assurance that the arrangements will be on a scale which will ensure that the minimum number of trainees at Remploy will approximate to the figure which he has previously assured the House would be reached?

Sir W. Monckton

I think the assurance that I gave to the House was that I would prevent, if I could, the number of employees going below 6,000. As for the future, I have to answer a Question by the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) a little later.

9. Mr. Lee

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of Remploy factories in October, 1951, and the present number; the total of disabled people employed on both dates; what figure of disabled persons he has in mind as the maximum to be employed by Remploy; and by what date he estimates that the necessary expansion will be accomplished.

Sir W. Monckton

In October, 1951, there were 89 Remploy factories, and on 11th October, 1955, 90. The total of severely disabled persons employed by the company in October, 1951, was 5,956 and on 11th October, 1955, 6,026. I am at present in discussion with the Board of Remploy Limited, on its plans for next year. I have no maximum figure to be employed by the company in mind; it would, in fact, be difficult to decide such a figure owing to the continuing rapid fall in the number of unemployed severely disabled—a fall of 44 per cent. since October, 1951. I hope, however, that the company may be able to make some increase in the number of severely disabled employees next year.

Mr. Lee

Whilst we understand that the development of Remploy went at rather too fast a pace at one time, would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that there is now an impression that not a great effort is being made to develop Remploy from its existing level? What sort of plans has the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and what sort of development speed are we to expect from Remploy to ensure that people who need the assistance which Remploy can give will not have to wait for admission to Remploy?

Sir W. Monckton

As to waiting, I would emphasise the fact that we are placing severely disabled persons, the Section II people, in ordinary employment at the rate of about 2,000 a year. The drop in the unemployed in Section II has gone down by 3,000 from—I think it was —6,900 in October, 1951, to 3,900 in October, 1955, so that the problem is diminishing. That does not mean that I do not want to do what I can for those who are properly placed for it, but it would be premature for me to say anything now. I have been talking during this month to the Board of Remploy and to the other Departments concerned.

21. Mr. Parkin

asked the Minister of Labour what plans he has to extend the training facilities offered by Remploy in the London area.

Sir W. Monckton

As I told the House in reply to the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee), I hope that it will be possible to expand the numbers to be employed in Remploy factories. This will include those in the London area.

Mr. Parkin

Will the Minister bear in mind the very real danger, in a thickly-populated area, of partially-disabled people drifting from one kind of unskilled occupation to another? In a small town, the case of a disabled person impresses itself upon the officials as one needing special training. Will he provide some kind of statistical check to see that the London area, in particular, gets its fair share of vacancies in Remploy?

Sir W. Monckton

We do try to administer this service as fairly as we can, and I should like to pay this tribute to the disabled resettlement officers, who do their work with great sympathy for the individual case.

Mr. Isaacs

Would I be correct in suggesting that one advantage of Remploy which is not always appreciated is that it demonstrates that disabled men can be made into useful workers, which has made it easier for the disabled resettlement officers to get employers to take such men into their employment? That is shown by the recent success in getting men into ordinary employment who would otherwise have gone into Remploy.

Sir W. Monckton

I think that emphasises what I was saying, and points the value of this service.