§ 8. Mr. Pentland
asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, as representing the Lord President of the Council, to what extent he has considered, in his short-term and long-term plans for the North-East, the prevailing lack of employment opportunities for disabled persons and juveniles.
§ Mr. Denzil Freeth
My noble Friend is very conscious of the need for adequate employment opportunities for disabled persons and young people. The best hope for improving employment opportunities for these and all other people seeking work is within the framework of general prosperity in the region. My noble Friend's plan is directed towards achieving this.
§ Mr. Pentland
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a desperate need for immediate action to be taken in the North-East on behalf of the unemployed disabled persons and juveniles, whose position is really serious? Can the hon. Gentleman assure us that his noble Friend's proposals, particularly the short-term measures, will meet the requirements of these people?
§ Mr. Freeth
Special attempts have been made to help young people and disabled persons in the North-East; for example, the first-year apprentice training given at the Government training centres at Felling and Tursdale, and the group training scheme on Tees-side which has been assisted by grant. With 6 regard to the disabled persons, there is, as the hon. Member knows, an industrial rehabilitation unit at Felling and there are nine Remploy factories in the North-East. The essential thing is to get more jobs in the North-East, and this will mean that more disabled and young persons can find them.
§ Mr. Willey
Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that there is a special need of employment for disabled persons in a heavy industrial area? Quite apart from full employment, there is not enough provision in the North-East, and this is one of the shortages to which his noble Friend might give attention.
§ Mr. Freeth
My noble Friend has paid attention to this matter, but I thought it was worth placing on record the fact that there was an industrial rehabilitation unit and nine Remploy factories.