HC Deb 26 April 1965 vol 711 cc19-20
21. Mr. George Jeger

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is satisfied that adequate steps are taken in his local offices to find suitable employment for unemployed workers on their disabled registers; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gunter

We are always on the watch for possible improvements, but I believe the service given to the disabled by my local offices in close co-operation with medical authorities and industry, as well as with our own Industrial Rehabilitation Units and Government Training Centres, is something in which we can take a justifiable pride, particularly in this year, the 21st Anniversary of the passing of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act, 1944.

Mr. Jeger

Will my right hon. Friend urge the local officers of the employment exchanges to take especial care to try to get suitable jobs for disabled men? Would he be surprised to learn, as I was the other day, that a disabled man in my constituency found himself a job two miles away from Goole and was there told that had they known of his existence he could have been working there for the past two years?

Mr. Gunter

I am not aware of the case cited, but I repeat that on the whole the work of the officers in the local exchanges is remarkable.

Dame Irene Ward

Will the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of telling the House that through his Department and through those associated with it we are having exhibitions, I gather in every region, of the work done by the disabled? Is he aware that I am delighted to have been invited to open the exhibition on the North East Coast? Will he take the opportunity of saying that he is doing everything he can to forward this very excellent idea?

Mr. Gunter

That tribute comes from a strange quarter, but I thank the hon. Lady very much. I am glad that she made those remarks. I can only repeat that, whatever its other defects may be, the Ministry of Labour has done a remarkable job in this field. I am sure that the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) would agree.

Mr. A. J. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in Swansea alone there are enough disabled unemployed to fill two large Remploy factories and that in Wales there are enough disabled unemployed to fill 24 of the largest Remploy factories? If it proves impossible to place these people in private industry, will he consider an expansion of the special facilities for these disabled unemployed in Wales?

Mr. Gunter

In the absence of all the facts, which I have not before me, I should not like to make any commitment now.