asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that some workshops for the blind have no Government work on hand and, in consequence of the need of finding employment for their workers, are using materials which are hard to replace to meet non-essential civilian requirements; and whether he will, therefore, give instructions that the National Association of Workshops for the Blind shall be asked to tender for all Government requirements capable of manufacture by blind workers?
Workshops for the Blind are always given special consideration when contracts are placed for stores which those institutions are capable of producing. The contracts are placed through the National Association of Workshops for the Blind. I am not aware of the cases to which my hon. Friend refers, but we are in communication with the National Association on the subject.
As the National Association for the Blind have not recently been invited to tender for such things as baskets, hosiery, and bedding, are we to understand that the Ministry require no supplies of these articles, and is my right hon. Friend aware that the National Association have never been invited to tender for the huge quantities of mattresses required by the Services?