Disabled Persons

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd January 1974.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Wandsworth Central 12:00 am, 22nd January 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present numbered of registered disabled people in Great Britain.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

On 31st March last, 577,577 handicapped people were registered with local authorities in England under Section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948, including people who are blind and deaf.

Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Wandsworth Central

Against the background of those figures, is the hon. Gentleman aware of the sacrifices made by many people in looking after disabled relatives rather than forcing them to go into hospital? Is he further aware that, although those people may be receiving some form of social security payment, this does not leave them with much opportunity to pay National Insurance contributions and that this in turn, at a later stage in their lives, may cause them to suffer in terms of the State retirement pension on which they have had little coverage? Will he consider the possibility of franking the insurance stamps of such people to make sure that they have protection?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

I shall want to study the specific and carefully prepared supplementary question put to me by the hon. Gentleman, without at this stage giving any commitment. In terms of the broad picture of need that he outlined and the sympathy which I am sure the House has in this respect, I echo what the hon. Gentleman said. The Government have made some attempt to help through the operation of the attendance allowance.

Photo of Sir Brandon Rhys Williams Sir Brandon Rhys Williams , Kensington South

When, this autumn, the Department produces its report on the treatment of the disabled, will it include a recommendation for a national disability income?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

I am afraid, if I may quote advice given by a party leader on another occasion, that the hon. Gentleman must wait and see.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Is it not a fact that the Government's recent Social Security Act totally failed to make any provision for the disabled on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Thomas Cox) and indeed in any other way? Is he also aware that at that time we were telling the Government to produce a great, comprehensive policy of provision for the disabled? When are we to get it and when do the Government intend to take action on this matter?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

We must wait for the report in October. The right hon. Lady, with her accustomed fairness, will acknowledge the substantial advances made by the present Government in provision for the disabled.