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Blind Persons

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will give particulars relating to the training and employment of blind persons at the close of 1951, as compared with the end of 1950, namely the total number of registered blind persons in gainful employment, the number receiving training, the number of special workshops for the blind recognised by his department as eligible for financial assistance, the number of persons employed therein, and the amount of financial assistance given to all recognised organisations providing employment for blind persons.

The information for which the hon. Member asks is:

1. The total number of registered blind persons:
(a) in gainful employment10,40410,917
(b) receiving training945898
2. Number of workshops for the blind recognised by the Ministry of Labour and National Service as eligible for financial assistance7070
3. Number of blind persons employed therein4,0644,132
4. Financial assistance given to all recognized organisations providing employment facilities£261,863£290,318
The figures in item 1 are for 31st March, the only date at which this information is collected; other information is in respect of 31st December.

asked the Minister of Labour what action has been taken, arising from the report published in January, 1951, of the Working Party appointed to investigate the facilities for the employment of blind persons in industry and in public and other services.

Some of the more important recommendations affect local authorities, and I am arranging to send the right hon. Member a copy of a circular which is on the point of issue to these authorities. The attention of all Government Departments has been specially called to the range of work which can be undertaken by the blind, and the number of blind persons employed by them has risen from 240 to 280 in the past year. An additional rehabilitation centre has been opened in Scotland, and the need for additional facilities elsewhere is being explored in consultation with local authorities. Recommendations in respect of the training of blind adolescents are being followed up by the Departments concerned.