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Disabled Persons

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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20.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of disabled persons who have passed through the rehabilitation centres, set up under the 1944 Act, the number trained, the number who have been placed in the various industries for which they have been trained and the number who are still left unemployed after training.

Training for industries is not given at rehabilitation centres but under the Vocational Training Scheme. Since the scheme of training for the disabled started in 1941, 26,470 have been trained, of whom 23,854 were placed by my Department in the trade for which they had been trained. Of the balance of 2,886, many were placed in other trades or found employment for themselves, but precise records are not available.

Can my right hon. Friend say what are the reasons for these men going to other trades?

I think they are threefold. First, a man who has been trained for an industry finds there is no opening for him in the area where he lives, and because of domestic reasons or the difficulty of getting a house he does not want to move elsewhere. Secondly, some men find, having taken the training, that they do not like the industry in which they have been trained. Thirdly, others find there is a better rate of wages in another industry. We are disappointed when men have been trained and we are unable to place them in the industries for which they have been trained.

Are the numbers of men awaiting training in various trades decreasing or increasing?

I could not say without notice, but the general position, in the light of what I have just said, is that we do not, of course, accept anybody for training unless there is a reasonable prospect of placing him in the industry.

Will my right hon. Friend consider the possibility of increasing the rate at which men are absorbed from 3 per cent. to 4 per cent. to give an incentive to men to be trained?

I dealt with that matter very fully only last week. There are very considerable difficulties in the way, and we do not contemplate raising the percentage at the moment.

21.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, under his regulations, registration on the Disabled Persons Register is optional; what categories registration covers; and whether the 3 per cent. intake required of employers takes account of the unregistered disabled in their employ.

Yes, Sir. Registration is optional. It is open to disabled persons of all categories if the disablement is a substantial handicap to obtaining or keeping employment and it if is likely to last for at least six months. Only registered disabled persons count towards the 3 per cent. quota.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he has a complete record of possible registrations, and that provision is being made in this time of crisis to find these men useful work?

I am satisfied that we have a very complete register as a result of the great drive made some little time back. I can assure my hon. Friend that, whenever we can find employment for these people, we do so, and that we do so on two grounds, first, that the work will be in the interest of the community, and secondly, that it will give a man an incentive to be happy and cheerful.

Will my right hon. Friend consider increasing the percentage for particular industries, because there are some which can afford an intake of more than 3 per cent.?

We have no power under the Act to make that differentiation, but there are many industries which are voluntarily taking more than the 3 per cent. Quite a number are doing that now.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that employers are fulfilling their obligations in this matter?

Yes. There may be a few isolated instances of those who are not, but I must in all sincerity say that I am most grateful to the employers throughout the country for what they are doing in this matter.