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Disabled Persons

Volume 929: debated on Monday 28 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the conditions of the scheme under which employers may be given capital grants by the Manpower Services Commission for adaptation of premises and equipment required to meet the needs of disabled employees; and if he will make a further statement;(2) from what date applications are invited from employers for capital grants for adaptation of premises and equipment required to meet the needs of disabled people;(3) if there is any limit on the amount of an individual grant payable by the Manpower Services Commission for adaptation of premises or equipment required to meet the needs of a disabled employee;(4) if he will list the categories of employers eligible for grants for adaptation to premises and equipment required to meet the needs of disabled people;(5) what publicity the Manpower Services Commission is giving to the scheme whereby employers may receive capital grants for adaptation of premises and equipment required to meet the needs of disabled people;(6) if Government Departments, local authorities and nationalised industries will be eligible for capital grants from the Manpower Services Commission for adaptations to premises and equipment for disabled people.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 23rd March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 546–7], gave the following information:I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that although agreement has been reached in principle for the introduction of a scheme of capital grants for adaptations to premises and equipment for disabled people during the financial year 1977–78 there are still a number of points to be worked out particularly in relation to the detailed operation of the scheme about which specific guidance to resettlement staff will be necessary. These points include precisely which employers are to be covered, the timing of the introduction of the scheme and the extent and level of employers' contributions.The main principles of the scheme which have been agreed so far are as follows: (

a) Grants will be given only for modifications relating to the needs of specified disabled people and only when the grants are considered essential either to the retention of an existing job or the take-up of a new job. In the latter case, a condition would be that there was otherwise no reasonable likelihood of finding the person a job in open employment within the foreseeable future.

( b) The employer would be expected to give an undertaking to keep the disabled person in the job as long as he or she was capable of doing it adequately. If the disabled worker did have to give up the job, or left voluntarily, the employer would be expected to use his best endeavours to engage a disabled person with a similar need, as a replacement.

( c) Grants would not normally be paid where structural modifications for the benefit of disabled employees—eg, ramps for wheelchair access—were included in the design of new premises, in accordance with the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Amendment) Act 1976.

( d) There will be a financial limit on the amount of individual grant payable, the level of which is still under consideration.

( e) The scheme will be dealt with on a case-work basis by local disablement resettlement officers (DROs), who will be able to obtain technical advice where appropriate when a specific need is identified.

The scheme will be referred to in the forthcoming guide to employers on employing disabled people which will have a very wide distribution, and DROs will be personally concerned with publicising the scheme when discussing employment prospects for individual disabled people with employers.