§ Mr. D. Jones
asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking, or will take, to assist the Workshops for the Blind to retain their employees on full-time.
§ Mr. Bevan
Local authorities are responsible for Workshops for the Blind, but I have powers to assist financially. The extent of employment is largely determined by local circumstances, including the effectiveness in marketing finished goods. My officers when visiting workshops periodically are able to advise them on measures to promote technical efficiency, and there is now less underemployment than for some time past. Such under-employment as exists is limited to a very few of the 70 workshops concerned.
§ Mr. D. Jones
asked the Minister of Education whether he will circularise local education authorities on the desirability of placing as many of their orders as possible for brooms, brushes, mats and baskets with the local Workshops for the Blind and thus assist in retaining in full employment those unfortunate members of society so afflicted.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
I do not think it is necessary for me to take any special action. All local education authorities received a circular in November last (No. 96/49) from the Ministry of Health, recommending that they should consider favourably any approach for contracts on a competitive basis made to them by the undertakings which provide employment for the severely disabled, including the blind.