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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 what proportion of the registered disabled adult population are currently in (a) full-time and (b) part-time employment.

I regret that comprehensive information on the employment status of registered disabled people is not yet available. A study commissioned by my Department will provide comprehensive information about the numbers and characteristics of people with disabilities in the labour market.

We shall all be very grateful when those statistics are available. Does the Minister accept that previous surveys showed clearly that unemployment among disabled people—reaching about 19 per cent. in 1988—is much higher than among able-bodied people? Is not there a need to introduce programmes to educate employers into recognising that one disability does not mean general inability, so there should be discrimination to ensure that disabled people are offered posts for which they are qualified?

The hon. Lady made some good points. I thank her for her recognition of the need for a comprehensive analysis. There have been surveys, but, with regard to the type of job, the type of disability, and so on, they have been partial. We have decided to delay publication of the consultation document on the review, to enable us to take account of the study that is being carried out. That will be to the benefit of everybody who is interested in disability.

Will my hon. Friend do what he can to remove the uncertainty that hangs over training establishments, such as the SHARE community, year by year? Without training, so many people cannot benefit from the job opportunities that are available to able-bodied people.

Obviously, my hon. Friend understands how we make money available for training on a year-by-year basis. That is necessitated by the way in which my Department is funded. If my hon. Friend wishes to draw a particular point to my attention, I shall be very happy to meet him to discuss it.