HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 c227W
Mr. Mark Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what changes will be made to the entry procedures for the Employment Service's supported employment programme as a result of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and if she will make a statement. [35116]

Mr. Forth

We have recently completed a public consultation on the entry criteria for this programme. The consultation was announced by my hon. Friend the Minister for Disabled People in January 1995 in the publication "Ending Discrimination against Disabled People". A substantial majority of those responding were in favour of keeping the current entry criteria apart from the modifications needed to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Entry to the programme is currently based on registration under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 and judgments by the Employment Service on a disabled person's capability of undertaking open employment. The Disability Discrimination Act amends the 1944 Act by introducing a new employment right and a new definition of disability. Once these apply, towards the end of 1996, registration as disabled will cease.

We have decided that the current entry criteria—that disabled people should be 30 per cent. to 80 per cent. productive relative to a non-disabled person and that they cannot otherwise obtain or retain employment on account of the severity of their disability—should continue to apply. Once registration as disabled has ceased, all disabled people entering the programme will need to comply with the definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act. Disabled people who were on the register on 12 January 1995 and on the date the new employment right comes into effect will be deemed to be disabled for the purposes of the Act without having to provide other evidence of disability.