asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has been able to give further consideration to the possibility of extending the upper age limits for the receipt of mobility allowance and whether he is now able to make a statement.
I am pleased to announce that we intend to make two changes to the upper age limits for the receipt of mobility allowance. Firstly, we will provide equal treatment for men and women so that both can establish entitlement to the allowance up to the age of 65. This means that for women, the upper age limit for entry is accordingly raised from 60 to 65.
Secondly, once the allowance is awarded it may be retained until the age of 75, by both men and women.
I am sure these changes will be greatly welcomed by the women who are affected and by the many thousands of beneficiaries who might otherwise no longer enjoy their allowance after pensionable age.
The changes will cost £5½ million in 1979–80 and the cost will rise to £20 million after four years. The legislative provisions to give effect to the changes will be included in the Social Security Bill which is to be presented today.