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Reflecting Discs (Children)

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1980

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13.

asked the Minister of Transport how many representations he has received in 1980 regarding the availability of reflecting discs for children to wear or carry after dark.

None, apart from the hon. and learned Member's in previous questions. However, I welcome recent efforts to promote the use of reflective discs.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in spite of the failure of other hon. Members to assist in this campaign, more than 1 million discs have been sold. largely as a result of the efforts of the Sunday Mirror and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents? Bearing in mind that such discs are likely to save many children's lives, will the Minister take the initiative in encouraging their use and discuss with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the possibility of the discs being zero-rated for VAT?

The hon. and learned Gentleman's campaign may be a lone one in the House so far, but it is certainly a worthwhile one. I congratulate the Sunday Mirror on the campaign which has resulted in 1 million discs being distributed. We encourage anything that will make pedestrians, particularly children, more conspicuous at night. The question of the VAT rating of discs is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I shall refer the problem to him.

Is the Minister aware that hon. Members on both sides of the House are in favour of the campaign and it is not a one-man campaign? Many of us are interested in saving the lives of young children who are at risk on the roads. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that hon. Members on both sides urge him to take action and to discuss with his colleagues in the Department of Education and Science ways of extending the campaign?

I am sure that the campaign has widespread support. Anything that we can do to encourage the greater use of discs and any other means of making pedestrians more conspicuous will be done. There is no need to cast doubt on the value or effectiveness of the campaign.