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Invalid Vehicles

Volume 975: debated on Friday 7 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to comment on and implement the Motor Industry Research Association report on vehicles for disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my replies to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 8 November 1979 and to my hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Hooson) on 9 November)—[Vol. 973, c. 225; Vol. 973, c. 381.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will seek to find a solution to the problems faced by young people, such as those resident at the Queen Elizabeth foundation college, in the absence of a suitable vehicle for them.

The previous Administration, after consultation with organisations representative of disabled people, replaced the former invalid vehicle scheme by mobility allowance which unlike the vehicle scheme is of benefit to non-drivers and drivers alike. The Government have no plans to change that policy.Many disabled people drive adapted production cars but even the most sophisticated vehicle which modern technology could make available would almost certainly be beyond the capabilities of the most severely physically handicapped individuals. The three-wheeler provided before January 1976 was subject to the same limitation.Whether there is a group large enough to warrant consideration of one or more specialised vehicles was one of the questions which led to the commissioning of a report from the Motor Industry Research Association (the MIRA). Its report on personal transport for disabled people is now available and I have sent copies to those chiefly interested.I am sure that the organisations which have initiated special vehicle projects will, in association with bodies such as the Queen Elizabeth foundation (some of whose residents took part in the MIRA tests), wish to study the report very thoroughly and I am sure it is too soon to expect them to have reached conclusions about their future plans.