HC Deb 20 June 1966 vol 730 cc1-3
1. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what steps he is taking to make his Department's advice on access to public buildings for the disabled more widely known among architects and those in local authorities responsible for public buildings.

6. Mr. Winnick

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what action he is taking to ensure that in public buildings and centres under his control there are no avoidable obstacles for the disabled.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works (Mr. James Boyden)

A pamphlet containing advice has been circulated to local authorities and the technical Press has given publicity to the subject. Buildings erected by the Ministry will conform with its recommendations.

Mr. Hamling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that much distress is caused to disabled people by the present arrangements in many public buildings?

Mr. Boyden

Yes, Sir, and I hope that every opportunity will be taken to publicise this very simple but very important pamphlet, and that when new construction is done and alterations are made, full note will be taken of it.

Mr. Winnick

Could yet another circular be sent to local authorities, because there are many complaints that buildings which are still being built by local authorities are causing great inconvenience to the disabled?

Mr. Boyden

That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government, but I will certainly draw his attention to it. We are most anxious to do everything possible to ensure that facilities are provided for the old, the disabled and the blind.

Mr. Allason

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what can be done about the conversion of old buildings so that they may equally give access to the disabled?

Mr. Boyden

Some of the things are quite simple, such as accessible car parks, ramps instead of stairs, rails, and letters standing out so that the blind can feel them. All this sort of thing can be done in existing buildings at very little cost.