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Disability

Volume 229: debated on Friday 23 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for employment what assessment he has made of the net Exchequer flowback of the personal reader service.

The most recent assessment of net Exchequer costs for the personal reader service was published in the consultative document "Evaluation of Special Schemes for People with Disabilities: Summary Paper" in November 1990. The figures are shown in the following table:

Assessment
Gross costs (1988–89) (£000s)387
Number helped (1988–89)472
Gross cost per person helped (£s)820
Estimated range of costs to Exchequer (£000s)370–510
Estimated range of net costs per person helped (£s)700–1,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the percentage level of employment of (a) blind people and (b) all disabled people.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) asks people of working age if they currently have any health problem or disability which limits the kind of paid work they can do. Estimates based on answers to this question will include people with short-term health problems and disabilities as well as those registered as disabled.LFS estimates for winter 1992–93, not seasonally adjusted, show that in Great Britain 38·2 per cent. of working age people with such health problems and disabilities were in employment. Of those who reported that their main health problem was with difficulty in seeing, 45·2 per cent. were in employment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the extent to which employers take account of the cost of special equipment in deciding whether to employ (a) blind workers or (b) people with other disabilities.

An assessment of the extent to which employers take account of the cost of special equipment was published in the consultative document "Evaluation of Special Schemes for people with disabilities: Summary Paper", in November 1990. The paper provided details of employer responses to a question which asked whether they would have taken or kept their disabled employees on, without help from the special schemes for people with disabilities. The question was asked in relation to all disabled people, regardless of disability although one third were classified as totally blind. The following table shows employer responses with reference to the special aids to employment scheme:

Would you have taken/kept him/her on without help from the scheme?'
Base—175
ResponsePer cent.
Definitely75
Possibly16
No9

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average cost of equipment given under the special aids to employment schemes (a)£906 for all recipients and (b)£1,373 for blind workers.

The average cost of equipment supplied under the special aids to employment scheme is (a) £906 for all recipients and (b) £1,373 for blind workers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has for the personal reader service scheme.

The assistance currently provided by the personal reader service will continue to be available under access to work from April 1994, and will be extended to include support beyond reading.