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Blind Persons

Volume 774: debated on Monday 25 November 1968

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she is satisfied with the arrangements by which blind people are employed in industry and with the assistance which her Department gives to the blind to find employment and to retrain them; and if she will make a statement.

There are 30 blind persons resettlement officers and six blind persons training officers who specialise full time in assisting blind persons to find employment in industry. There is close co-operation with welfare authorities and voluntary organisations and, whilst I am satisfied that these arrangements are working well, continuous efforts are being made to improve the service. The number of blind persons placed in ordinary employment has been increasing recently and the training facilities provided by my Department are at present under review to ensure that they keep abreast of employers' requirements.

Is my hon. Friend aware that his Answer is most welcome? Is he also aware that many blind people are capable of highly-skilled work? Is he satisfied that employers are making sufficient use of the work of blind people and that his Department is sufficiently publicing the work that blind people are capable of doing?

We are well aware of their capacity. To show how up to date we are in that respect—my hon. Friend will be glad to know that we have blind people who have been trained in computer programming. Most of those who have had training have been placed, and some have had promotion since they were placed.