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Clause 22

Volume 897: debated on Monday 4 August 1975

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Mobility Allowance

Lords amendment: No. 4, in page 14, line 3, at end insert

"being such an appliance as is primarily designed to afford a means of personal and independent locomotion out of doors."

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

I take it that the amendment will be entirely non-controversial and I shall, therefore, be brief. It concerns Section 37A(5)(b), which was introduced into the Social Security Act 1975 by Clause 22. It enables regulations to be made prescribing cases in which the mobility allowance is not to be payable, or is to be payable at a reduced rate, while the person has the use:
"of any prescribed description of appliance supplied under enactments relating to the National Health Service".
The Government had given assurances that there was no intention of using this power at present and that it was required only as a reserve power in case an expensive outdoor mobility appliance became available for use in the future. The Government had in mind the possible future issue of a suitable occupant-controlled electrically-propelled outdoor vehicle. Fears were expressed that the power was so wide that virtually any appliance such as a walking frame, crutches or even a Possum typewriter would be covered and that a future Government would have to reduce the mobility allowance for any of those items.

An amendment tabled on Report in another place was accepted by the Government to make clear that the reduction of the mobility allowance can be applied only if the appliance concerned is designed primarily for use out of doors and is an aid to personal and independent locomotion. That is accepted by the Government, and I hope that it will be acceptable to the House.

Question put and agreed to.