§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the European Commission's budget for the network of district projects on the social integration of disabled people (a) in 1983 and (b) in 1984; under what budget line the expenditure is authorised; and what proportion of the total cost of the district projects this represents;
(2) what is his estimate of the expenditure by each of the two United Kingdom participants in the European network of district projects on the social integration of disabled people in 1983 and in 1984; and what proportion in each case is being met by (a) the European Commission, (b) central Government, (c) local government and (d) other sources;
(3) what arrangements have been made for the full participation of disabled people and voluntary organisations in the two United Kingdom districts which are included in the European network of district projects on the social integration of disabled people; and if he will make a statement;
(4) on what date he now expects the European network of district projects on the social integration of disabled people to be started; if he is satisfied with the progress of the Commission in implementing the decision of the Council of Ministers of 21 December 1981 which stated that the projects should begin early in 1983; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
Applications have been submitted to the European Commission from the London borough of Lambeth and the royal county of Berkshire as the two United Kingdom projects to participate in the European network of district projects. The EC proposes to provide 50 per cent. matching funding towards the operation and evaluation of projects. In the case of the United Kingdom applications the remaining 50 per cent. is to be found by the local authority. We understand that the EC contribution will come from the budget line for handicapped people within the social fund.
The United Kingdom applications, with those from the other member states, will be considered by the European 138W social fund advisory committee which is meeting on 7 and 8 July. More detailed information about financial arrangements will not be available until after that meeting.
Considerable preparatory work has already been done involving, among others, local voluntary organisations. Discussions have also been taking place between the Commission, the United Kingdom Government and representatives from the proposed projects. If the applications are successful, the projects are expected to begin in October or November this year.
§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in establishing a European network of data banks on aids for disabled people and in devising a European thesaurus; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
The EC has recently launched the Handynet concept which is designed to facilitate the exchange of information in technological and other developments to aid the disabled. Handynet will contain a number of separate projects, among which will be Handyaids — an inventory of technical aids, manufacturers and distributors; Handyvoc — a multi-lingual thesaurus of terms covering technical aids for the disabled and handicapped; and Handywho — a directory of organisations involved.
Feasibility studies are being undertaken to determine which data can be pooled and/or exchanged between Community member states and how information technology can help this exchange of data. The Department will be keeping a close watch on developments.