asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list the categories of disabled persons who are currently entitled to an adapted small car in place of a tricycle who will be disentitled after 1st January 1976; how many people in each category have been issued with a small car in each year since the concession was introduced; what was the extra annual net cost each year of the concession; and if she will make a statement.
I regret that not all the information is available.Currently cars may be provided instead of three-wheelers for National Health Service clients who come within the following groups:
655 cars were provided for new National Health Service clients during the year ended 31st March 1975 at which date there was a total of 2,849 cars on issue in England to clients within these groups.
The accounts do not show separately the information necessary to cost the arrangement accurately; but its effect for these groups of disabled people may be fairly assumed to be small. The issue of cars to new National Health Service clients will cease on 1st January next not for reasons involving comparative cost considerations but because of the introduction of new arrangements based on cash assistance. The mobility allowance then to be introduced will in fact cover over 100,000 more people than the vehicle scheme and the present restriction of benefit exclusively to those people who are able to drive will no longer apply.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she is satisfied with the speed and efficiency with which special cars for the disabled are produced and delivered; and if she will take action designed to ensure that disputes in the car industry do not adversely affect the production or the quality of these badly needed vehicles.
Orders for manual gear change models are now being fulfilled normally and more cars with automatic gear change have been promised. The cars for disabled people are produced by the same workers in the same plant as those destined for other users.