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Disabled Persons (Vehicles)

Volume 932: debated on Monday 16 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what statutory authority local authorities have to provide disabled people with personal transport, either by direct provision or by meeting the cost of commuting the mobility allowance for the purpose of car purchase.

I am advised that authority exists in Section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948, as amended, under which my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Social Services has directed local authorities to make arrangements to provide, whether at centres or elsewhere, facilities for social rehabilitation and adjustment to disability including assistance in overcoming limitations of mobility. While it is not for me, or my right hon. Friend, to interpret the law, it would seem likely that this would enable a local authority to provide a car if it so wishes. The matter would be one entirely for the discretion of the authority, which would be entitled to make a charge. Section 29 does not authorise assistance to be given in the form of cash payments.