HC Deb 19 January 1981 vol 997 cc61-2W
Mr. Alfred Morris

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what plans his Department has made for the International Year of Disabled People 1981; what funds have been allocated for this purpose; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will conduct during the International Year of Disabled People 1981 a thorough review of all his Department's policies that affect disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the new measures that his Department is taking to promote the aims of the International Year of Disabled People.

Mr. Heseltine

My Department is undertaking a range of measures in connection with the international year. These include the production of a film on housing for the disabled, a review of circular 59/78—"Adaptations of Housing for People who are Physically Handicapped"—and a grant to the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) towards the costs of its 1981 building for the disabled award. A research study will be undertaken on housing for mentally ill and handicapped people. In addition, I have made it clear that the major priorities in public sector housing should be groups with special needs, such as the elderly and the disabled.

The 1980 Housing Act provides for easier access to improvement grants in the case of disabled people. Local authorities have been asked to bear international year in mind when submitting projects for the urban programme.

Other activities include the Sports Council's 1981 "Sport for All" campaign, which has as its theme sport for the disabled; the Countryside Commission's annual conference which will have as its theme "Disabled People in the Countryside"; and the new DOE/RIBA/NHBC housing design awards, which will in 1981 have a special focus on housing for disabled people.

Measures are being financed through normal DOE programmes. No specific Department budget for international year is therefore required. I shall continue to bear in mind the needs of disabled people during the international year.