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Disabled Persons

Volume 901: debated on Thursday 20 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give figures for each of the last five years for, respectively, the number of disabled people registered under the Disabled Persons (Unemployment) Act, the number of registered disabled people who are unemployed, the percentage of registered disabled people who are unemployed, the number who are on the Department's "Disabled Live File" and the national average unemployment figure for all workers.mits enabling them to employ non-disabled workers when vacancies arose, and (iv) the number of firms below quota, which have not received permits.

The information requested about the "Disabled Live File" is I regret not available. The rest of the information is as follows:last five years, the cost of the employment services provided by his Department for disabled workers, and the number of placings of disabled workers in open industry and sheltered industry, respectively.

I regret that the information requested in the first part of the Question is not readily available for the last five years. But I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 18th March —[Vol. 888, c. 357–8.1—to the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) as this gave full information in respect of the current financial year. The following placings of registered disabled people have been effected by the disablement resettlement officer service, and by the careers service in the case of some young registered disabled people, over the last five years.

YearPlacings in open employmentPlacings in sheltered employment
197065,9662,182
197158,8041,588
197261,4922,472
197372,0282,423
1974*4,8342,475
* Partly estimated.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the figures for the last five years for the number of registered disabled people in sheltered employment, the number of unemployed registered disabled persons who are considered unlikely to obtain employment except under special conditions, and the number of sheltered workshops.

The information requested is set out in the table below; which relates almost entirely to the position in March of each year.

YearNumber of severely disabled people in sheltered employmentNumber of unemployed registered severely disabled people (section II)Number of sheltered workshops
197012,83510,168206
197112,85611,081207
197213,07212,702206
197313,44812,049203
197413,57510,989204

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give, for each of the last five years, the total cost of the Government subsidy for sheltered workshops, the average cost per disabled worker of the Government subsidy, the average earnings of male disabled workers in sheltered workshops and the percentage relationship of the average earnings of male disabled workers in sheltered industry to the average male industrial earnings; and if he will give separate figures for the earnings of workers covered by the National Joint Council for Workshops for the Blind.

The information requested in the first two parts of the Question is set out in the table below. The costs shown include running costs borne by central and local government; but exclude capital costs. The information requested in the other parts of the Question is, I regret, not available.

Financial YearApproximate total subsidyApproximate average cost for each severely disabled worker
££
1969–707,917,000649
1970–719,617,000779
1971–729,474,000767
1972–7310,215,000805
1973–7412,713,000993

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give for each of the last five years the percentage increase in average male earnings of (,i) Remploy workers, (ii) blind disabled workers in blind workshops, and (iii) non-disabled manual workers; and if he will give the percentage increase in prices for each year.

I regret that the information requested about the earnings of blind disabled workers is not avail-able. The information relating to the average earnings of Remploy's male disabled workers and the percentage increase

Percentage increase between April 1970 and April 1971Percentage increase between April 1971 and April 1972Percentage increase between April 1972 and April 1973Percentage increase between April 1973 and April 1974Estimated percentage increase over the eleven month period between April 1974 and March 1975
Average earnings of Remploy's male disabled workers15·710·211·313·029·5
Percentage increase over the eleven month period between February 1974 and January 1975
Index of Retail Prices (all items)9·46·39·215·217·9
It is not possible to give the informa-for non-disabled manual workers because the published average earnings take into account not only the earnings of able-bodied workers but also those of disabled people working in open industry. How-ever, my hon. Friend may like to know that the results of the New Earnings Surveys show that the percentage increases in the average gross weekly earnings, excluding overtime pay, of all full-time manual men age 21 and over whose pay was not affected by absence were

April 1970–April 197111·l per cent.
April 1971–April 197211·3 per cent.
April 1972–April 197314·6 per cent.
April 1973–April 197414·8 per cent
I regret that the information relating to the period April 1974 to the present date is not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will arrange a meeting with Remploy management to discuss the principles which determine its attitude during wage negotiation; if he will take steps to make wages of disabled workers more comparable with those of non-disabled workers; and, in particular, if he will consider linking such wage rates with those of manual workers in local authorities.

My Department is in close touch with the Remploy management over all matters relevant to the company's negotiations over the wages in prices for each year is set out in the table below.of its disabled workers. The relationship between their wages and the wages of able bodied workers generally, and the wages of local authority manual workers specifically, is a matter primarily for negotiation between the Remploy management and the consortium of eight trade unions which represents the company's disabled workers. However, their wages have increased substantially over the last year and, as already announced, it has been agreed between my right hon Friend and the Remploy Board that a survey should be put in hand, in co-operation, it is hoped, with all concerned, to compare the earnings of Remploy's workers with those of the workers covered by the National Joint Council for Work-shops for the Blind; and that if this shows a significant gap between the average earnings of the two groups discussions will be held to consider ways and means of further increasing the earnings of Remploy's workers, as circumstances and Government policies permit, so as to improve their comparative position.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will discuss with the TUC the action it has taken to improve the wages of disabled workers in sheltered employment and the progress that has been made.

The TUC submitted its views on the wages of disabled people in sheltered employment when commenting on my Department's consultative document on sheltered employment and my right hon. Friend considers that there would be little to be gained at this stage by a discussion between him and the TUC on this matter.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, for each of the six areas where the experimental intensive

Percentage unemployment of registered disabled people on 10th March 1975Percentage of relevant firms who were below quota in May 1974Percentage of firms below quota who received permits during the 12 months preceding the 31st May 1974
(1)(2)(3)
Ayr16·37051
Cambridge5·57855
Middlesbrough17·35585
St. Helens19·66376
Walsall11·94563
Wrexham23·95228

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many additional staff have been assigned to each experimental area for the enforcement of the quota scheme; and what was the previous number working in this field for the Department in each area.

The Department's team of wages inspectors has been re-deployed in order to ensure that one full-time inspector, or the equivalent staff time where more than one inspector is involved, is engaged on quota inspection in each of the six areas. Previously, less staff time was allocated to quota inspection in each area.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the experimental scheme for enforcement of the disabled quota is due to end; and when he expects to make an announcement about the results.

I have it provisionally in mind that the programme of stricter enforcement of the quota scheme in selected areas will run until about the middle of the year. As I have previously stated, I hope to be in a position later this year to announce the Government's proposals concerning the future of the quota scheme. These proposals will, of course, take account of the lessons learned from the programme.Mr. Ashley asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many disabled enforcement of the quota scheme is taking place, if he will give the following information: (1) the percentage unemployment of registered disabled people, (2) the percentage of relevant firms below quota, and (3) the percentage of firms below quota which have received permits.

The required information is as follows:people are at present receiving training under the Training Opportunities Scheme; what is the total number being trained under the scheme; and what proportion of (

a) the disabled trainees, and ( b) the non-disabled trainees find employment after completing their training.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that on 28th February 1975, 2,224 disabled people were being trained out of a total of 32,118 people in training under the Training Opportunities Scheme.During 1974 over 80 per cent. of disabled and of able-bodied people found employment in their training trade after completing their courses.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether disabled people are allowed to claim any additional ex-pences incurred because of their disability.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that certain concessions are available to disabled people who take courses of training sponsored by the Training Services Agency. Disabled trainees receive reimbursement of fares for their daily journey to the training establishment irrespective of the length of their journey. If they are required to live away from home in lodgings during training they may be paid a higher than normal rate of lodging allowance if this is necessary to obtain accommodation suitable to their disability.