A disabled pensioner may qualify for an invalid tricycle if he has suffered amputation of both legs, one amputation being above the knee, or is suffering from paraplegia or his disability results in total or almost total loss of the use of his legs, or he is so badly disabled as to need a machine in order to obtain or retain employment.
I should think that where a person has applied for a motor car and has been told that he is not eligible, at the same time he would be told whether he is eligible for a tricycle.
The new type of motor tricycle embodies a number of new features based on experience of the special needs of seriously disabled persons. Complete weather protection is provided. The tricycle has a hood which can be easily opened or closed by the seated driver. A very wide door makes it easy for the disabled man to get in and out. Special attention has been paid to the springing of the chassis and upholstery in order to give maximum insulation from road shocks and engine vibration. All the controls are hand operated, the throttle and brake controls being on the steering wheel, which is of the aircraft type. The machine is fitted with a self-starter. It has good hill climbing qualities. At the back there is an enclosed compartment containing a folding hand-propelled chair. The tricycle has been driven in the course of its tests by seriously disabled men who have testified to its comfort, and to the ease with which it can be driven.
While we appreciate the action of the Ministry in effecting these improvements in design, can my right hon. Friend say anything about the relative cost of one of these improved tricycles and one of the cars which his Ministry have issued? In view of the obviously great superiority of the motor car, can he not declare that it is his ultimate policy to extend the issue of cars to all categories of disabled persons who will qualify for the motor tricycle under the present plan?
No, Sir. The tricycles are provided now. They are being issued continuously. An improved version is being provided. In addition, I have been able to provide, as I have already said more than once, not more than 1,500 motor cars over a period of two years. Questions about what might happen at the end of that time might more appropriately be put within a few months of the expiry of those two years, and not now.