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Disabled Persons

Volume 975: debated on Friday 7 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what evidence he has of discrimination against disabled people regarding their employment prospects; and if he will make a statement.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission, which has responsibility for training and employment services for disabled people, that although unemployment statistics provide evidence that disabled people are at some disadvantage in the labour, market, and research for the "Fit for Work" campaign indicated some misunderstanding and lack of awareness of the employment capabilities of disabled people on the part of some employers and employees, it has no conclusive evidence of discrimination against disabled people regarding their employment prospects. However, examples of alleged discrimination against ex-psychiatric patients were published last year by the National Association for Mental Health.A number of those who replied to the MSC's quota discussion document have advocated the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation, which was one of the options contained in that document. They have not given any detailed evidence of discrimination but indicated in general terms that in their view it exists.The committee on restrictions against disabled people is currently collecting evidence of across-the-board discrimination and has been invited to submit any evidence it may obtain on employment discrimination for consideration within the context of the MSC's review of the quota scheme.