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Blind Persons

Volume 2: debated on Wednesday 8 April 1981

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that the tax relief for blind persons announced in the Budget speech will benefit 13,000 persons from a total of 120,000 registered blind persons, if he will seek to provide by a redistribution in the resources available, or by some other means, to extend some financial benefit to those unaffected by his proposals.

It is estimated that 25,000 blind people will benefit from the increase in the tax allowance announced in the Budget. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has made it clear that the Government have great sympathy with the problems of blind people, and that the long-term objective is to produce a coherent and comprehensive benefit scheme for all disabled people, including the blind, though the resources to make a start on this are not available at present.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many blind people will remain taxpayers as a result of the decision not to index-link the tax threshold.

Precise information is not available centrally, but it is thought that the number of blind taxpayers is little affected by the decision not to increase the personal allowances.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of registered blind people will benefit as a result of the doubling of the blind person's tax allowance; and what will be the total cost to the Exchequer of this concession.

About 25,000, nearly one-fifth, of registered blind people will benefit as a result of the doubling of the blind person's tax allowance, at a cost in a full year at 1981–82 income levels of about £1 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give his estimate of the number of blind people there are in the United Kingdom and his estimate of the number who will gain by his income tax proposals; and if he will make a statement.

The number of blind people in the United Kingdom is not recorded centrally. However, 130,000 people are registered as blind persons with their local authorities and of these it is estimated that about 25,000 will benefit by the proposal to double the blind allowance.I refer the hon. Member also to my reply to the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Pavitt) today.