§ 25. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the Remploy Factory in Aberdeen is prevented from working to its full capacity as a result of shortage of staff; how many persons have been treated and 25 rehabilitated there during each of the last 10 years; what has been the nature and duration of the incapacity of each person; and what was the nature of the work for which each has been trained.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The Remploy factory at Aberdeen has its full quota of supervisory staff, as distinct from severely disabled factory employees. The capacity in the factory cannot be filled at present because of shortage of orders for the factory's products. With regard to the second part of the Question, the purpose of Remploy factories is to provide permanent sheltered employment for severely disabled persons. It is not possible to give the medical history of the factory employees over the past 10 years.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does the hon. Member realise that that is a very unsatisfactory Answer, and that the work done in the Aberdeen Remploy factory is a potential source of national wealth and productivity, quite apart from its humane aspect? To leave it under-staffed is to undermine our national wealth, to some extent. Will he reconsider his reply and see that the factory is adequately staffed to carry on its work to the fullest extent?
§ Mr. Whitelaw
I cannot accept that the Answer that I have just given is wholly unsatisfactory. The total capacity for severely disabled people at this factory is 64, and there are 49 working there at present. It is, therefore, providing a considerable contribution. We have to face the fact that, if orders are short, we cannot continue to over-employ people when their products cannot be sold. Remploy must step up its effort to sell more, as I know it is doing.