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Disabled Persons

Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 12 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has now obtained the views of the National Advisory Council and other interested organisations and individuals on the employment of the disabled and on the present quota system and possible alternatives; if he will publish their views in the Official Report; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has now obtained the views of the council and of many other interested organisations and individuals on the consultative documents and discussion papers published by my Department over the last two years as part of its review of policies and services for disabled people. The number of bodies which have expressed views is, however, considerable; and some of them might not wish their views to be published. Accordingly it would in my view be neither practicable nor desirable to publish their views in the Official Report.Last year both the Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency published their plans and programmes for the development of their employment, rehabilitation and training services for disabled people on lines agreed with my right hon. Friend's National Advisory Council as a result of the review. Decisions on the future of the quota scheme and of sheltered employment have still to be taken.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions have taken place following his Department's consultative document on "The Quota System for the Disabled" published in May 1973; what conclusions have now been reached by his Department; what action they propose: and if he will make a statement.

My Department received a large number of written comments on the document and discussions about the future of the scheme have been held with a number of bodies from which comments were received including the National Advisory Council on Employment of Disabled People, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress. I have not yet reached conclusions about the future of the scheme, but hope to be able to announce the Government's proposals later this year. Meanwhile a programme of stricter enforcement of the scheme in selected areas has been put in hand. I shall, of course, take the results of this programme into account when reaching conclusions about the scheme's future.