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Eec Social Action Programme

Volume 887: debated on Tuesday 25 February 1975

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1.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action she has taken to implement those parts of the EEC social action programme which fall within her Department's responsibility.

The Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security
(Mr. Brian O'Malley)

The United Kingdom has secured approval for payments from the European Social Fund towards the cost of schemes to rehabilitate handicapped persons. Commission proposals concerning other parts of the programme affecting my Department are still being discussed within the Community or are awaited.

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Can he give an indication of the level of funds available at the moment for that and also what voluntary bodies in this country are working in co-operation with his Department to further these pilot schemes?

The total level of expenditure from Community funds as they are envisaged for a two-year period is £1 million. Second, there is an advisory committee which was set up directly through the EEC by a number of individuals who are in other ways connected with voluntary organisations. My Department is in contact with that advisory committee.

Apart from one's attitude to the Common Market, would my right hon. Friend agree that this is a bold and imaginative programme which is being conducted by the EEC? How can he make these support grants better known in this country? How many people are involved, particularly among the physically handicapped?

I should make it clear that the whole of this social action programme is in the very early stages. Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a separate Question on his second point. I should want notice of it.