HC Deb 22 January 1980 vol 977 cc161-2W
Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many unemployment review officers work for his Department; what are their functions; and how many people were reviewed by them in 1979.

Mrs. Chalker

Not all unemployment review officers are engaged full-time on unemployment review, but the number is now roughly the equivalent of 600 full-time posts. These officers help and encourage supplementary benefit claimants who have been unemployed for lengthy periods to return to work. We shall soon be extending these procedures to people receiving un supplemented unemployment benefit and initially 60 1979–80. The Department has regular discussions with manufacturers concerned with the export of a wide range of medical equipment including electronic aids. Problems of communication for the handicapped are also considered in the Department's continuous liaison with the Post Office and the National Physical Laboratory. Although primarily directed towards the needs of our own handicapped population, any outcome—for example, the NPL "MASCOT"—should have export potential.

officers will be allocated to handle these cases.

During 1978 unemployment review officers invited for interview 218,598 unemployed supplementary benefit claimants. The number reviewed during 1979 is not yet available.