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Disabled Persons

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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asked the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have any plans to seek to encourage (a) the making available of defence and nuclear robotic research to those wishing to produce sophisticated aids for the disabled and (b) the making available of research regarding aids for the disabled, using light-weight and low-cost materials, to those exploring defence and nuclear robotic possibilities.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services is responsible for reporting each year to Parliament progress made on research and development work carried out on behalf of every Minister of the Crown which might be of assistance to the disabled. The inquiries made by his Department seek to identify all such useful work, including that arising from defence. These inquiries have not included the nuclear field. I am grateful for the suggestion of a further source of information.The Department of Health and Social Security has sought to increase the effectiveness of this report by commissioning a study last year by the disabilities study unit in addition to its own inquiries. The report of the unit is being studied. First indications are that few developments have been revealed of which the DHSS was previously unaware. The project has clearly been useful in providing a further stimulus to research establishments to consider the need for the disabled.Research regarding aids for the disabled is not subject to secrecy except where commercial confidentiality applies and information is therefore available through a wide range of publications concerning this area, as well as in the report made under section 22 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.