asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the dismissal of three men who have been employed at the Treforest Remploy Factory for the past three and a half years; and what change of policy is responsible for this treatment of disabled men.
I am informed by Remploy Limited that there has been no change of policy in this respect. It has never been possible for Remploy to retain in their employment men who, because of their medical condition, are no longer able to do any useful work.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable apprehension amongst the employees at the Treforest Remploy Factory because they fear, what the Minister has denied, a change of policy? Is he further aware that these men are as fit now as they were when they were employed three and a half years ago; and will he look into the matter?
The matter has been very carefully examined. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that under the Disabled Persons Regulations, 1945, there must be a reasonable prospect of obtaining and keeping some form of work as a condition of employment in a Remploy factory. I know that my right hon. and learned Friend views this case with very great sympathy, and the case of these three men was most carefully considered. There was a deterioration in eyesight in the case of one of them, and a possible deterioration in mental activity in the case of one of the others. But the great point is that their case has been carefully examined. It was referred to the senior medical officer and to one of the directors of the factory before this action was taken.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that some weeks ago an exactly similar case arose in my own constituency, which I raised in this House; and is it not significant that these discharges continue to go on of men who have been employed for several years? In my own case I was able to show that there had been no significant deterioration of condition at all. Is the hon. Gentleman not aware—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] If hon. Gentlemen opposite are not interested in Remploy, I am. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a growing suspicion that too much pressure is being applied from headquarters to increase the productiveness of these factories?
In any case, what I want to make plain to the House, if I may, is that there has been no change of policy. As far as is humanly possible the very difficult human problem of the people in these factories is considered as carefully and fully as possible.