HC Deb 16 July 1981 vol 8 cc441-3W
Mr. David Young

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many registered disabled people are unemployed in each region; and what steps he is taking to assist them.

Mr. Peter Morrison

On 11 June 1981, the latest date for which statistics are available, the numbers of registered disabled people unemployed within each Department of Employment statistical region were as follows:

Region Registered disabled people unemployed
South East 16,575
East Anglia 2,539
South West 5,569
West Midlands 8,260
East Midlands 4,652
Yorkshire & Humberside 6,904
North West 13,409
Northern 4,471
Wales 3,996
Scotland 6,367
Great Britain 72,742

Note: The figures involve an estimate for a number of offices where statistics are not available for June 1981 as a result of industrial action.

The full range of the Manpower Services Commission's services are available to unemployed registered disabled people. The commission also administers a wide range of services specially for disabled people.

Mr. David Young

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he has taken this year to promote the employment of disabled people; to what extent their position has improved or worsened as a result of increasing levels of unemployment; and if he will make a statement assessing the effectiveness of his policies in achieving the employment objectives of the International Year of Disabled People.

Mr. Peter Morrison

The Government fully support the employment objectives of the International Year of standard region of Great Britain; how these figures compare with the figures for May 1979; and if he will express each figure as a percentage of the respective work forces.

Mr. Morrison

The following table gives the numbers registered as unemployed and the percentage rates of unemployed at May 1979 and June 1981 for the areas specified. The figures exclude school leavers and are seasonally adjusted.

Disabled People. We are therefore continuing to provide the assistance which disabled people need in the employment field, and in promoting the "Fit for Work" campaign, which aims, in common with the employment objectives of the International Year, to promote the full integration of disabled people into the normal working environment.

The shortage of job opportunities of course affects disabled people like jobseekers in general, but it is notable that unemployment amongst disabled people has risen more slowly over the last year than unemployment generally.

Mr. Lewis Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will describe his Department's policy for prescribing, providing and maintaining high technology equipment to enable disabled persons to work; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will describe the role of the medical and paramedical professions in providing advanced technology, communication and other aids for disabled people to work, by his Department; what conditions are imposed upon the receivers and suppliers of such equipment; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Morrison

[pursuant to his reply, 10 July]: I recognise the potential of high technology equipment to increase the number and range of employment opportunities for disabled people.

The Manpower Services Commission is able to prescribe and provide such equipment on permanent free loan under its special aids to employment scheme to registered disabled people who need the equipment in the performance of their work. The Manpower Services Commission accepts full responsibility for the maintenance and repair of equipment lent under this scheme though disabled users may be asked to meet the cost of minor repairs—under £5. No special conditions are imposed upon the suppliers of such equipment. Disabled people are asked to return equipment to the Manpower Services Commission when it is no longer required for employment purposes.

Employers who need to adapt equipment so that disabled people can be taken into or retained in employment can apply to have the costs met in part or whole by grants under the Manpower Services Commission's adaptations to premises and equipment scheme.

Applications under both schemes are made to the Manpower Services Commission's disablement resettlement officers, who will seek the help of professional and technical experts when necessary. Medical and paramedical staff axe, where appropriate, asked to advise the Manpower Services Commission on the needs of particular disabled people and the type of equipment most likely to meet those needs in the employment context.