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Disabled Persons

Volume 892: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Scottish local authorities have a list of disabled persons; and if he will name them.

Almost all the local authorities in Scotland have indicated that they have, or are in the process of preparing, a list. The authorities and their present methods of obtaining information were given in the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones) on 18th March.—[Vol. 888, c. 405–7.]

Does my hon. Friend accept that to me that is a very disappointing reply? Is it not about time that the Government instructed local authorities to follow the example of, for instance, Motherwell and Wishaw Town Council, which is incurring considerable expense and time in advertising on television and in the local Press for a register to be compiled of every disabled person, whether mentally or physically handicapped? Will the administration, in which I have confidence, now instruct the new local councils from tomorrow that a register should and must be compiled as soon as possible?

We shall do everything possible to encourage local authorities who do not have such a list to prepare one. The new authorities begin their operations on 16th May. As well as discussing their development plans for social work services, we shall certainly be discussing with them the preparation of a list of disabled persons.

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is some concern that the personal quality of social work which has been established in places like Motherwell and Wishaw could be somewhat diluted and become anonymous in the vast regional administrations? Will he ensure that the personal quality of the service is not lost?

I think that provision was made for this in the Local Government (Scotland) Act. The Strathclyde Region, under that Act, has to produce a scheme for social work. I have seen such a scheme prepared. I am concerned to see that in these bigger authorities the personal attachment to the work is not lost, because we are dealing with a very personal social service.