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Disabled Persons (Access To Buildings)

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give in the Official Report for the substance of his Department's letter about the adaptation of Government buildings to the Chairman of the Silver Jubilee Committee on Improving Access for the Disabled.

With the agreement of my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, I have written about the Gov- ernment's plans to Peter Large, MBE, the Chairman of the Silver Jubilee Committee on Improving Access for Disabled People. The text of the letter is as follows:

"As you know the Government is anxious, wherever possible, to improve access for disabled people to public buildings. To this end, we have now decided to give a further lead which I know will be very widely welcomed. I am pleased to be able to say that the Property Services Agency is to spend £500,000 in 1979–80 to adapt at least one public building in 56 towns in Great Britain. This decision follows a review to see whether it would be possible, by adaptation of an existing building, to provide at least one Government office in each town with the facilities necessary to extend employment opportunities for disabled people.
I know that the Silver Jubilee Committee will be glad to learn of this further response to its work by the Government. For my part, I am especially grateful to Denis Howell for the part he has played in this matter. Positive action, backed by the necessary resources, is the only way in which we can achieve the further practical progress both you and I are seeking. I feel that the Property Services Agency's initiative does much more than simply to improve the employment prospects of disabled people, important though that is. In renewing the Government's strong commitment to helping disabled people to play their full part in social life, it reflects our determination that disabled people shall be a part of and not apart from society.
I hope that other employers will take note of our further initiative and will see what they can do to carry through similar works of adaptation in their own offices, shops and factories. For the information of your committee, I enclose a list of the towns involved.
The towns in which the improvements are to be made are:

South West

  • Bristol
  • Gloucester
  • Swindon


  • Llanelli
  • Neath
  • Caerphilly
  • Maesteg
  • Pontypridd
  • Colwyn Bay
  • Rhyl
  • Wrexham


  • Poole
  • Bournemouth
  • Winchester


  • Sevenoaks
  • Margate
  • Dover
  • Brighton
  • Lewes


  • Stamford
  • Corby
  • Kettering
  • Mansfield
  • Boston
  • Spalding
  • Derby
  • Selly Oak
  • Castle Bromwich
  • Dudley
  • Stourbridge
  • Smethwick
  • Bilston
  • Brierley Hill
  • Alfreton
  • Warwick
  • Solihull
  • Malvern
  • Pershore
  • Evesham
  • Erdington
  • Sutton Coldfield
  • Nuneaton
  • Bromsgrove
  • Sheldon
  • Washwood Heath
  • Walsall

North West

  • Wilmslow
  • Oldham

Northern Ireland

  • Belfast
  • Lisburn
  • Coleraine
  • Newry

North East

  • Durham
  • Darlington
  • Stockton
  • Hexham
  • Huddersfield
  • Sheffield
  • Grimsby

This list is being extended to include towns in Scotland."