HC Deb 05 December 1972 vol 847 cc1078-9
4. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations he has had with the London Borough of Hackney concerning the provision of a sheltered workshop for the disabled; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dudley Smith

My Department has been in close touch with the borough on this matter; and as I said in my reply on 17th November it expects to begin building a sheltered workshop by the spring of 1974.

Mr. Davis

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Is he aware that there is no certainty, even at this time, that the local authority will be able to obtain a site for this valuable project? Is he also aware that the great difficulty is finding a site at a reasonable cost and that this issue demonstrates fairly conclusively that the scandal of rising land prices in London is hitting very hard at projects such as sheltered workshops?

Mr. Smith

I do not wish to go into the question of land prices; there is a good and adequate answer on that. However, I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there are difficulties in London which are greater than those elsewhere concerning the provision of sheltered workshops. It is really the responsibility of the borough to find somewhere. In this case a compulsory purchase order may be required. But certainly if another site could be found in advance of this it would be proceeded with before 1974.