HC Deb 04 July 1978 vol 953 cc218-20
10. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many disabled persons were registered as unemployed at each of the employment exchanges in the South Yorkshire area at the latest available date.

Mr. John Grant

As the reply consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report. However, I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the total numbers of disabled people unemployed on 8th June 1978 in the area were 1,498 registered disabled and 3,116 unregistered disabled.

Mr. Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend realise that it is almost impossible for these people to get a job when there is such a high rate of general unemployment? Will he, therefore, make certain that every employer employs at least the 3 per cent. quota of disabled people, and will he discuss with the Secretary of State for Industry ways of bringing more jobs to the Dearne Valley constituency?

Mr. Grant

The rate of unemployment among registered disabled people in South Yorkshire is lower than the national rate, though it is higher in the Dearne Valley constituency. I have previously drawn attention to the Manpower Services Commission's programme for getting more disabled people into employment, and that is the best way to proceed. I certainly note my hon. Friend's remarks about discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry.

Mr. Buchan

Is my hon. Friend aware that some of us are rather puzzled about his earlier reply that serious action could be taken only against flagrant breaches by employers? When an ordinary citizen breaks the law, he is prosecuted. Is it not time that when the law is broken in regard to quotas of registered disabled employees and firms are not carrying out their obligations, prosecution should follow?

Mr. Grant

There is always some discretion for authorities whether they proceed to prosecution when someone is found committing an offence. For example, many people have been caught speeding but they have not all found themselves in court.

Following are the figures:

Registered disabled people unregistered disabled people
Barnsley 141 325
Chapeltown 29 36
Dinnington 59 22
Doncaster 314 671
Firth Park 112 29
Goldthorpe 55 87
Hoyland 26 22
Maltby 29 92
Mexborough 88 142
Rotherham 191 391
Royston 23 29
Sheffield 277 1,052
Thorne 80 115
Wombwell 47 47
Woodhouse 27 56