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Disabled Persons (Vehicles)

Volume 928: debated on Monday 21 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many haemophiliacs have been denied a specially adapted car since the Government's change of policy in July 1976;(2) how many young disabled adults who have recently left school, and who would have been given a special vehicle, have been denied a special vehicle since 23rd July 1976;(3) how many disabled adults in work have been denied a special vehicle who would formerly have been entitled to one;(4) how many disabled mothers in sole charge of young children have been denied a special vehicle or an adapted car since July 1976 who would formerly have been entitled to one.

The invalid vehicle service, which specifically helped only those disabled who were drivers and thus excluded the great majority of disabled people, were replaced at the beginning of last year by financial help—the mobility allowance—which is payable alike to all drivers and non-drivers who satisfy the entitlement criteria. My right hon. Friend hopes to increase the mobility not just in amount but in real terms from November of this year.It is not possible to identify, from among mobility allowance beneficiaries, the drivers who would have been found eligible for particular forms of help under the pre-1976 vehicle scheme. Nor do we know how many other people might have qualified for help if the pre-1976 scheme had remained open to new applicants, though their number can be estimated by reference to past experience.Successful applicants for help in 1975 included the following:

Haemophiliacs awarded a car62
Applicants aged 16–19 awarded a vehicle or private car allowance309
Mothers in sole charge of a young child awarded a car170
Applicants needing a vehicle to travel to and from work awarded a vehicle or private car allowance1,200
Some 40,000 awards of mobility allowance have already been made and it is expected that eventually there will be some 100,000 new beneficiaries, many of them young disabled adults, adult workers or mothers with young children, who would have received no help at all under the pre-1976 scheme. The present policy will help many more people in these categories than the old scheme did. And successful applicants for mobility allowance may be eligible for additional help under the Employment Service Agency's travel-to-work scheme or, in the case of students, from their local education authorities.