asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in view of the proposed change-over from three-wheeled cars to the four-wheeled variety, what efforts his Department is making to encourage British motor manufacturers to adapt their existing models or new models to help the disabled, in particular by experimenting with an adaptation of tiller steering.
I agree with my hon. Friend's assumption that the switch to a cash benefit is likely to lead to disabled people increasingly using adapted four-wheeled cars rather than three-wheeled vehicles. I have seen an adapted version of a popular small production car which one of the major manufacturers is preparing, and my Department is in touch with other firms. To enable the steering of a four-wheeled car to be actuated by a tiller or handle bars, in order to help the minority of disabled drivers who have special needs in this respect, would require the development of a suitable power-operated system. Work done by the Transport and Road Research Laboratory on driving control systems was referred to by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Transport in his reply to the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) on 6th April.—[Vol. 929, c. 1216.]
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people who had an invalid tricycle have accepted the£5 grant instead.
To date 749 people have applied to relinquish their invalid tricycle and receive mobility allowance instead, and of these 655 have so far been awarded the allowance. The choice is currently available only to tricycle holders who are within the age-groups now eligible for mobility allowance and who meet the medical criteria. It will be open to all other holders of tricycles issued under the old vehicle scheme when the relevant provisions of the Social Security (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1977 are brought into operation.