asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much money his Department is making available for the purchase of Hasicom equipment for use by the deaf-blind.
The Department has not provided funding, but the Department of Track and Industry helped to set up the Hasicom project by providing £85,000 towards equipment costs and £10,000 in consultancy fees. Local authorities, if they consider that there is a need for such equipment, have a duty to provide it under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. 'The Manpower Services Commission can also loan equipment if it is considered that this will help a disabled person overcome problems in the workplace and work efficiently.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has about the number of deaf-blind persons in England and Wales.
The information available centrally relates to the numbers of persons registered with social services departments in England as being blind with an additional handicap. The information cannot be considered comprehensive because registration is voluntary, the registers may not reflect migration or deaths and additional handicaps may not be categorised. The latest information is given in the table. Figures for Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
|Number of Persons Registered as Blind who are also Deaf or Hard of Hearing at 31 March 1986|
|Blind-Deaf without speech||126||153||279|
|Blind-Deaf with speech||501||868||1,369|
|Blind-Hard of hearing||1,049||1,952||3,001|