§ Mr. Kinnock
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will ensure that all new premises occupied by her departmental local offices, such as New-bridge House in Blackwood, Monmouthshire, are properly equipped to accommodate disabled and wheelchair bound persons.
§ Mr. Freeson
I have been asked to reply.
Government Departments are expected to abide by the provisions of the 548W Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. The Property Service Agency ensures that new Crown-built buildings, and newly leased buildings where possible, are provided with facilities for the disabled.
Newbridge House was built by a private developer and the building was occupied in April this year by the DHSS and the Department of Employment. Layout plans were approved by the PSA and the client Departments, and special male and female toilets are provided for disabled persons. There are no lifts, but the entrance is at pavement level and there is suitable access for wheelchair-bound persons. The DHSS office is on the ground and first floors, and arrangements are made for any disabled person unable to climb stairs to be interviewed in the ground floor public office.