HC Deb 18 March 1959 vol 602 cc36-7W
84. Mr. Holt

asked the Minister of Labour what is the total number of blind persons employed in blind workshops run by local authorities to whom his Department make grants on account of their reaching a minimum standard of work as laid down in his Department's Circular 1/D.P.677/1958, 26th March, 1958.

Mr. Wood

The Circular to which the hon. Member refers informed local authorities in England and Wales that in general the Minister would not be prepared to recognise as approved workers, for purposes of grant, new entrants to workshops for the blind unless their earnings reached minimum standards which had been recommended by the National Association of Workshops for the Blind, in agreement with the National League of the Blind and the Local Authorities Advisory Committee on the Conditions of Service of Blind Workers.

The total number of approved workers employed in workshops for the blind (whether managed directly by local authorities or by voluntary bodies acting as their agents) was 3,760 on 31st December, 1958. Most of these would not be affected by the Circular in question, since it applied only to new entrants, but since the Circular was issued, 86 trainees have been admitted as approved workers after reaching the full qualifying rate of earnings.

85. Mr. Holt

asked the Minister of Labour what is his policy in regard to those blind persons who are capable of work but do not reach the minimum standard of speed laid down in Circular 1/D.P.677/1958.

Mr. Wood

Cases of men and women who failed after training to reach the qualifying standards of earnings laid down in the Circular are considered sympathetically by my Department and they are given every opportunity of attaining those standards. Such a person may be recognised for grant purposes

  1. (1) if he has reached a standard equal to at least 75 per cent. of the recognised earning capacity and has been accepted by the workshop concerned as an "improver journeyman";
  2. (2) if he has been permitted by the local authority to enter or remain in the workshop in the interests of his welfare and subsequently reaches the qualifying standard.

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