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Disabled People

Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many disabled people were helped into jobs by his Department's programmes in 1988–89.

In 1988–89, an estimated 77,200 people with disabilities were placed into jobs by jobcentres. In addition, many found jobs by other means following participation in other Department of Employment programmes.

Does my hon. Friend acknowledge that the figure that he has just announced is an impressive witness to the work undertaken by his Department to help the disabled? I say that with particular pleasure because 22 years ago I was a junior official in the Department. Will he continue to give a high priority to helping people with disabilities to get and keep work?

I shall certainly draw my hon. Friend's remarks to the attention of the officials in my Department concerned with disabilities. The evidence of increased commitment can be seen in several ways, one of which is by looking at the increase in expenditure. In 1986–87 we spent £220 million on help to the disabled in employment and now we spend about £350 million.

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is two years since his Department commissioned an important review into employment services for disabled people? When will the report be published?

My hon. Friend and many other right hon. and hon. Gentlemen await the publication of the consultative document, and we are doing our best to produce it as soon as possible. We have decided that it would not be appropriate to publish it before we know the results of the survey of people with disabilities in the labour market. That has been commissioned and is being completed. We hope to be able to publish the consultative document in June this year.