§ 2. Mr. Ian Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on his proposals to help people who are partially incapable of work.
§ The Minister for Social Security (Mr. Nicholas Scott)
We will be introducing, from April 1992, a wholly new benefit for this group, to be called the disability employment credit. For the first time, there will then be a benefit aimed specifically at helping disabled people to support themselves in work.
§ Mr. Taylor
My right hon. Friend announces an important measure which will give a good deal of self-respect to disabled people who wish to work. They will not now be penalised for doing so. Is he involved in consultations with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Employment to ensure that sufficient companies provide places of work and proper facilities for disabled people so that his Department's scheme can be fully taken up?
§ Mr. Scott
The Department of Employment already spends about £350 million a year to obtain work for disabled people and keep them in employment. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Employment will shortly bring forward new proposals, to which the whole House will look forward, to provide services for disabled people.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
Will the Minister confirm that he expects to save £10 million on the new benefit, as I was told in a recent parliamentary reply, and that this must be a policy decision, as transparently it cannot have been based on detailed costings? Why is this such a big new deal for disabled people when the Government expect to save £10 million and will the right hon. Gentleman introduce a consultative document on this new benefit?
§ Mr. Scott
The Government obviously have a duty to produce the best estimate they can and to put it before the House. There is great uncertainty about the final expenditure on this benefit because we do not know what the take-up will be. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman does not criticise the principle that disabled people who are in work but who perhaps are unable to work to full capacity should be supported by the benefit system.