§ Mr. Willey
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to reduce the high level of unemployment of disabled persons in Sunderland.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
Industrial and commercial development in the Wearside special development area over the last year, encouraged by the Government's policies, is expected to create an estimated 3,500 additional jobs or so. The staff of my Department's special resettlement services, which are currently being reviewed to see in what ways they can be improved, are doing everything possible to ensure that disabled people in Sunderland get their share of these jobs and of employment opportunities generally. Moreover, the provision of sheltered employment in Sunderland is being expanded. Remploy Ltd. is adapting larger premises as a replacement for its Sunderland factory, which it hopes will be completed by the end of November 1974. The Department has also approved in principle a proposal by the local authority to replace the existing workshop for blind people in which 38 blind and nine severely disabled sighted workers are currently employed by a new factory which will cater for 80 workers and may if necessary be expanded.