§ 1. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Minister of Labour to make a statement about the work of the Committee on the Disabled set up under the chairmanship of Lord Piercy in March, 1953; and when this Committee will publish a report.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Watkinson)
The Committee of Inquiry on the Disabled is still engaged in hearing evidence from interested bodies, but I understand it hopes to furnish its report later in the year.
§ 2. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the need for a special approach to the matter of the training and subsequent placement in employment of spastics, whose need is habilitation rather than rehabilitation; and if he will set up, or co-operate with the voluntary organisations in setting up, an experimental unit for this purpose under the provisions of the Disabled Persons Employment Act, 1944.
§ Mr. Watkinson
I am aware that some spastics at school-leaving age or later may be able to profit from a special course of preliminary training designed to enable them to use their limbs more effectively, and I understand that the voluntary organisations concerned have in mind the establishment of centres where this kind of training could be given. One of the 3 voluntary organisations has discussed this approach with my officers and is aware of the extent of the assistance which could be given at a later stage of training under the provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act.
§ Mr. Johnson
Is my hon. Friend aware that the existing centres cater chiefly for the very lightly handicapped spastics, and, as a result of this, the hard core of the problem of the employment and training of spastics is not really touched?
§ Mr. Watkinson
It is hoped that, as a result of the initiative of the bodies interested, there will be further centres, and, if so, we shall do what we can to help.