HC Deb 26 July 1965 vol 717 cc24-5
31. Mr. Alan Williams

asked the Minister of Labour what proportion of the labour force of those factories covered by the quota system is made up of disabled workers.

Mr. Gunter

An inquiry carried out in June 1964 revealed that within approximately 65,000 firms to which the quota provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act, 1944, applied, 2.75 per cent. of the total labour force within those firms were, or had been while in their current employment, registered as disabled.

Mr. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us on this side will regard a figure of 2.7 per cent. as very disappointing? Does he realise that this percentage has fallen significantly during recent years because many firms are failing to meet their obligations? In seeking a solution of the problem, will my right hon. Friend consider the possibility of varying the quota according to the type of work?

Mr. Gunter

That point has already been considered. We must, however, apply quite a lot of common sense in dealing with this question. Because of the nature of the work that they offer, many firms are unable to reach a level of 3 per cent. Thousands of firms exceed this figure and are generous in this matter. We are, however, watching the position carefully.

Dame Joan Vickers

Can the Minister say how many disabled people are unemployed?

Mr. Gunter

I have the figure with me but I cannot lay my hand on it at the moment.