§ Mr. Clelland
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what effect the proposals in the White Paper on the reform of social security will have on the sheltered industry; and what steps he will take to protect the position of sheltered workshops for the blind and disabled.
§ Mr. Newton
At present, where someone is awarded a supplementary benefit single payment for household effects or furniture, and the item is known to be available at a reasonable price from a local sheltered workshop, staff are instructed to explain this to the claimant and to offer to arrange for its supply with the claimant's agreement and on his behalf. The White Paper proposes that single payments should be replaced by loans or grants from a new, discretionary social fund. We recognise the valuable work done by sheltered workshops and are examining whether comparable arrangements for the supply of workshop goods could be made under the social fund, consistent with the role of the fund as outlined in the White Paper.