§ Mr. Llew Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the implications for employment opportunities for the disabled of the withdrawal of the Green Card DP21, version 1/93. 
§ Ms Hodge
The arrangements now in place to improve employment opportunities for disabled people are more effective than the previous system based on registration as a disabled person under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 giving access to a "quota" of jobs in larger organisations. Experience showed that the registration process leading to the issue of the Green Card (DP21) and quota system failed to secure job opportunities for disabled people.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) provides a framework of rights for disabled people which are enforced through Employment Tribunals. We have already demonstrated our commitment to comprehensive enforceable civil rights for disabled people through a reduction in the threshold for employment rights to 15 bringing in an extra 70,000 disabled employees within the scope of the DDA; and by introducing the Bill to establish a Disability Rights Commission. The Disability Rights Task Force will be reporting on what further is needed to strengthen employment rights.
Equally, many disabled people are benefiting from the New Deals introduced in the last two years. The New Deal for Disabled People is testing a range of initiatives, to help disabled people and those with long-term illness into work at a cost of £195 million. We have also expanded the specialist disability employment programmes run by the Employment Service. These include help from Disability Employment Advisers, the Supported Employment Programme, Access to Work and the Job Introduction Scheme.