HC Deb 23 February 1999 vol 326 c269W
Mr. Berry

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what amounts in his Department's budget for 1998–99 can be attributed to spending on disabled people; and what proportion this represents of total departmental spending. [71284]

Mr. Morley

MAFF's Programme of Action for Equality of Opportunity includes a number of provisions for staff with disabilities.

Managers are required to provide funding to meet reasonable adjustments for staff with disabilities from their own local budgets. This may be supplemented by funding from a central budget where there is a need for specialist equipment or additional help beyond the means of local budgets. No central record is kept of expenditure on staff with disabilities by local managers. The budgetary provision for central funding for 1998–99 is £67,500.

In addition to the funds available to meet adjustments for individual members of staff, audits have been undertaken of the accommodation in which staff work to identify where improvements in access or the provision of facilities for people with disabilities are needed. A programme of work is underway on which £1.1 million has been spent in the last three years. The budget for this programme for 1998–99 is £450,000. This expenditure is of benefit to both staff and MAFF's customers.

The Department also participates in the Employment Service's Supported Employment Scheme which provides work opportunities for people with severe disabilities. The 1998–99 budget is £53,000.

As responsibilities and operations related to disability are spread throughout the Department it is not possible to give the proportion of total departmental spending.