§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress has been made since the introduction of special contracts arrangements to employ more people with a disability. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
The special contracts arrangement was introduced on 29 November 1994 to help supported employment programme providers compete for contracts tendered by Government Departments and agencies.
Ninety-one workshops have now registered under the special contracts arrangement and the size of the supported employment programme has remained steady at around 21,000 severely disabled participants.