§ Mr. Fitt
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list, respectively, the percentage of the total work force unemployed and the percentage of those on the register of disabled persons who were unemployed in Northern Ireland in each of the last 12 months; what action he is taking to increase employment amongst disabled people ; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Concannon:
The information requested is as follows :
NORTHERN IRELAND Percentage of total work force unemployed Percentage registered disabled persons unemployed* November 1976 10.4 16.36 December 1976 10.4 16.70 January 1977 10.9 16.90 February 1977 10.7 16.68 March 1977 10.4 16.81 April 1977 10.6 16.97 May 1977 10.5 16.81 June 1977 11.2 17.05 July 1977 13.0 16.93 August 1977 12.9 16.85 September 1977 12.6 16.82 October 1977 11.6 — * September 1977 is the last month for which information is available.
In July 1977 the Department of Manpower Services, which has responsibility for placing suitable disabled people in employment, issued the booklet "Positive Policies—a Guide to Employers of the Disabled" to all employers who have an obligation to employ a quota of registered disabled people under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act (NI) 1945. This follows a similar initiative in Great Britain. "Positive Policies" is intended to focus employers' attention on the employment of disabled people and the assistance available to employers to provide it. The Department's Disablement Resettlement Officer Service has been expanded to meet the new initiative.
The job introduction scheme for the disabled and the capital grants scheme were introduced in Northern Ireland at the same time as in Great Britain.
The Department's 100-place employment rehabilitation unit assesses the 153W employment capacity and potential of persons who have difficulty in obtaining employment and seeks to assist them in making the most of their abilities. Grants are made to enable blind people to follow training courses in Great Britain.
The Department also assists a number of independent bodies providing sheltered employment and training.