To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will take steps to ensure that the value of the voucher issued by his Department for persons to obtain spectacles from registered suppliers is of sufficient value to provide the budget-priced glasses referred to in his Department's leaflet FB19, published in February;(2) if he will ensure that persons being issued with vouchers by local offices of his Department for spectacles can exchange these for moderately priced spectacles at registered suppliers without being required to make any additional payment; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he will list such information as is available to him on those registered suppliers of optical lenses who can supply such lenses at a price below £16.
[holding answer 10 December 1987]: The Department consults interested organisations on voucher values. Any increases in those values are expected to come into effect on 1 April next year, and will take into account such developments as changes in the price of spectacles. Under changes proposed in the White Paper "Promoting Better Health" (Cm. 249) vouchers will also be exchangeable for contact lenses. Spectacles, both frames and lenses, are now supplied only through the private market. Information is not therefore available about the availability of lenses at particular prices. We believe, however, that in many areas spectacles are available at or about current voucher values.