Disabled Persons

Oral Answers to Questions — Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th December 1966.

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Photo of Mr Gwilym Roberts Mr Gwilym Roberts , Bedfordshire South 12:00 am, 6th December 1966

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will send a circular to major local authorities recommending them to build special toilets for disabled people.

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

A recent circular on access to public bulidings for the disabled included advice on the design of cloakroom accommodation. We are very anxious to do all we can to help the disabled. The Department raises the matter with local authoriies seeking loan sanction for public conveniences whenever it appears that provision for disabled persons could reasonably be made.

Photo of Mr Gwilym Roberts Mr Gwilym Roberts , Bedfordshire South

Would my hon. Friend agree, however, that it is time further pressure was brought in this respect? Is he aware that in many parts of the country there are no toilet facilities which these people can use, and that it is now essential that local authorities should provide some services for them?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

I do not think that the circular has yet had its full effect, but my right hon. Friend is in touch with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and is watching the position.

Photo of Mrs Lena Jeger Mrs Lena Jeger , Holborn and St Pancras South

Would my hon. Friend agree that while the circular is most useful there is a serious problem about existing public conveniences, particularly in central London? Most public conveniences are underground and their access is by difficult steps. Could my hon. Friend try to encourage the use of ramps, the widening of doors and so on in existing public conveniences to help these people?

Mr. NlacColl:

I think that local authorities are well aware of the problem, and where they can reasonably make conversions they do so.