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Industrial Injuries and Diseases

Part of Orders of the Day — Social Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 20th May 1986.

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Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree 6:30 pm, 20th May 1986

I am slightly puzzled by the way in which the hon. Gentleman phrases his intervention. He is attracted to some parts of what I said but not to others. Inescapably, we feel that it is right to look at these proposals as a package, in terms of a balance within the industrial injuries scheme, and to focus more closely on the severely disabled. I made no secret in Committee or in the documents that we have published on the subject that we place this in the context of the help that we are able to give to the sick and disabled as a whole.

I do not want to go too far down the track that the hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye (Mr. Kennedy) opened up for me a few moments ago in relation to community care, but one of the aims of our income support proposals is to provide a significant increase in the amount of support that is given to those who are classified as long term sick and disabled who are currently in receipt of supplementary benefit, and who under our proposals will receive income support. For that substantial group of people, for whom nothing like the industrial injuries scheme exists if they have been injured at home or elsewhere, we are seeking to provide assistance through the income support scheme, amounting to about £50 million.

I do not run away from the fact that we have sought to look at the needs of sick and disabled people as a whole, and to try to strike a balance between different groups of people whose disabilities may have arisen in different ways. Indeed. I see my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) in the Chamber. In the past, he has had responsibilities like mine, and he will know some of the problems.