HC Deb 04 November 1948 vol 457 c1012
25. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that recent statistics reveal the number of blind persons in Wales to be 219 per 100,000 of the population; that this is a higher proportion than for any other country with a white population; that Wales ranks fourth in all countries for which statistics are available; and if he will cause special investigations to be made to inquire into this high incidence.

Mr. Bevan

I am aware that the number of registered blind persons in Wales approaches the figure stated, but this is not noticeably greater than the numbers in England. Comparison with statistics for other countries is unreliable and I am not satisfied that a special investigation would serve a useful purpose.

Mr. Evans

Might it not be that the standard of registration in Wales does not conform to the standard which is perhaps more strictly observed in other parts? Might that not be due partly to the faulty definition of blindness in the Blind Persons Act, now carried into the National Assistance Act, about which representations have been made to my right hon. Friend?

Mr. Bevan

There is a great deal of substance in what my hon. Friend has said, but if he will note the differences they are not so marked as might at first be thought. The numbers per 100,000 are, in the Northern area, 206, in the Southern area, 173, in the Western area, 205, and in Wales, 211.