§ Mr. Iorwerth Thomas
asked the Minister of Labour, whether he will make a statement about Remploy Limited.
§ Mr. Gunter
Yes. Since the commencement of the present five year programme in April, 1961 Remploy has increased the number of its severely disabled employees by some 500. The present figure of 6,870 is the highest for any year in the company's history. The major part of the additional costs incurred in employing the increased number of disabled has been met by an increase in production and sales and by higher productivity. I am sure that hon. Members would wish to join me in congratulating Mr. Bingen, the Chairman of Remploy, and the directors and staff on this achievement.
I have asked Remploy to make plans for a further substantial expansion during the three years ending April, 1969. These plans will be kept under review from year to s year and, each year, plans will be made for a further year ahead. Broadly speaking, the objective is to increase production and sales so that the numbers of severely disabled employees can rise to about 7,650 by 1968–69, priority being given, where possible, to areas of high unemployment.
In order to assist Remploy to achieve this object, and to continue to increase its productivity, the Government are prepared to make £1,715,000 available over the next three years by way of loan to cover capital expenditure on new plant and buildings and essential replacements. This represents a substantially higher rate of capital expenditure than in the current programme. The company will also be given additional assistance in meeting its running expenses. It is estimated that during the financial year 1966–67 the grant required for this purpose will be 19W £3,536,000, an increase of £190,000 over the estimate for the current year. The amounts to be provided in subsequent years have been provisionally estimated at £3,644,000 in 1967–68 and £3,564,000 in 1968–69, but the precise level of grant will be reviewed annually.