HC Deb 22 May 1989 vol 153 cc427-9W
17. Mr. Hannam

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what his Department has done to help disabled sportsmen and women.

21. Mr. Roger King

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what he is doing to help disabled sportsmen and women.

Mr. Scott

On 26 April, I announced that the Government had awarded £500,000 to set up a fund to help sportsmen and women with disabilities to practice their chosen sport. The fund will be administered by the British Paralympic Association, and will help disabled people and voluntary organisations with the costs of equipment, training or organising events. It will be of considerable assistance to disabled people wishing to lake part in sport at any level.

Although of course the responsibility for sporting issues lies with the Department of the Environment, officials in both Departments work closely together on matters affecting sportsmen and women with disabilities. For example, the Department has participated in the major review of sporting needs and opportunities for people with disabilities, which has been led by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment and Minister for Sport. [The review group's report is due to be published in July.]

28. Mr. Wareing

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the financing of local services for disabled people for which his Department has responsibility.

Mr. Scott

The Department of Social Security does not finance any services for disabled people through local authorities but, through its network of local offices, provides benefits to disabled people at nationally determined rates.

35. Mr. Alfred Morris

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how he proposes formally to consult disabled people, and their organisations. on the review of disability benefits.

Mr. Scott

Organisations representing disabled people are already commenting on the published findings of the surveys of disability carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. We welcome those comments, which contribute to the process of reviewing disability benefits in the light of the OPCS data. As I said in my reply to the right hon. Member on 17 April at column10, I hope to announce a timetable for further action after all the survey results have been published in July.

38. Mr. Butterfill

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether the United Kingdom has been involved in any European programmes for the disabled.

43. Mr. Sims

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether the United Kingdom has participated in any European programmes for the disabled.

Mr. Scott

The United Kingdom participated in the European Commission's first action programme for the disabled (1983–1987), and is currently participating in the second follow on action programme called Handicapped people in Europe Living Independently in an Open Society (HELIOS). This programme involves setting up local model activities to represent good practice in vocational and economic integration, social integration and independent living, and educational integration.

In addition in 1988 the United Kingdom allocated £27.8 million from the European social fund towards vocational training projects for the disabled re-entering the open labour market. This represents the largest allocation to any EC member state for 1988 and accounts for just under 8 per cent. of the allocation to the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Beckett

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the increase in real terms in spending on social security benefits for the sick and disabled since 1978–79; and what proportion of this increase has been due to(a) the increase in the number of people receiving benefit, (b) increases in the actual benefit rates and (c) increases in the total real value of payments for reasons other than (b).

Mr. Scott

Spending on the long-term sick and disabled increased by £3.5 billion in real terms between 1978–79 and 1988–89, a real increase of 90 per cent. Increases in the numbers of beneficiaries account for about 90 per cent. of the real increase and the balance of 10 per cent. represents a real increase in the average amount of benefit paid. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of the increase in the amount of benefit paid as requested in(b) and (c). A full comparison of benefit rates in 1978–79 and 1988–89 cannot be made because of the changes to the income-related benefits over this period.

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