HC Deb 04 April 1995 vol 257 cc994-5W
18. Mr. Pickthall

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures he is taking to encourage and assist small businesses of under 20 employees to employ disabled people. [16032]

Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures he has taken to assist disabled people to obtain work in small companies; and if he will make a statement. [17405]

Mr. Paice

The Government encourage the recruitment of disabled people through its policy of educating and persuading employers to recognise the abilities of disabled people and by the promotion of good employment practice.

This is backed by practical help to both individuals and employers, including small employers, through a wide range of services and programmes. For example, the Employment Service's placing, assessment and counselling teams—PACTs—offer a comprehensive and local specialised service to help disabled people obtain and retain employment. PACTs also give advice to employers about recruitment and general practices relating to the employment of disabled people and promote the code of practice on the employment of disabled people. The disability symbol is now used by more than 1,200 employers of all sizes, all of whom have given a commitment to interview any disabled job applicant who meets the minimum criteria for a particular job vacancy.

In addition the access to work programme provides disabled people with a wide range of flexible help to overcome barriers to employment including employment in small companies. It can pay for a communicator at a job interview or at work for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment; a reader or assistant for people who are blind or have a visual impairment; adaptions to vehicles or help towards taxi fares or other transport costs and equipment to suit particular needs and alterations to premises or working conditions.

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