HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 c6
4. Mr. Summerson

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about the impact of recent technological developments upon the disabled.

Mr. Scott

Recent. current and future technological developments are making and will continue to make an increasing impact on the lives of disabled people. They will enable many disabled people to live independently and to have opportunities for education, employment and leisure. They will also play an important part in the detection, prevention and amelioration of disabling conditions.

Mr. Summerson

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, wherever possible, money is made available by his Department to ensure that disabled people who cannot afford that new technology are enabled to afford its benefits?

Mr. Scott

I agree with my hon. Friend. We want those developments to be made available on as wide a scale as possible. Clearly, priorities will have to be made about the development and availability of new technology. But we are moving in the right direction and in the next 10 years technology will make a greater impact than anything else on the lives of disabled people.

Mr. Thurnham

Does my right hon. Friend recall his visit three years ago to the disabled living service centre in Manchester, which has a unique display of devices to help the disabled? Does he recognise the national importance of that centre, which is funded almost entirely by charity?

Mr. Scott

I certainly recognise that and there are a number of other centres around the country that also play an important part in enabling disabled people to see what is available to them. I am concerned that we should exploit information technology to the greatest extent possible so that social services departments, voluntary agencies and disabled people can find out, by using the telephone or other instruments of information technology, what is available to them.

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