HC Deb 24 February 1964 vol 690 cc20-2
4. Sir B. Stross

asked the Minister of Health whether he will take steps to sanction the provision of a motor carriage to accommodate two people where two members of the same family, particularly a man and his wife, are each entitled to a single-seat motor vehicle.

30 and 31. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Health (1) what estimate he has made of the difference in cost of a two-seater car and two single-seater invalid tricycles;

(2) if he will introduce new legislation to enable him to supply two-seater invalid cars in cases where a husband and wife are both invalids and a doctor certifies they both have need for such aid.

Mr. Barber

It is contrary to Government practice to disclose contract prices but one small car would cost less than two tricycles.

As I told my noble Friend, the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), on 10th February, I am reviewing the whole question of invalid vehicles.

Sir B. Stross

Is the Minister aware that we are grateful that he is reviewing the matter? It is important. Nobody wants to accuse the right hon. Gentleman of being cruel even if he is trying to be economical. This is a serious matter, and where two invalids are concerned and both are of the same family, they surely ought to be able, even if it costs a little more, to have a two-seater car?

Mr. Barber

As the hon. Gentleman knows, this is not an easy thing. It has been considered by my predecessors on a number of occasions, but I realise that it is a matter of concern to the whole House and I shall certainly try my best to solve it.

Mr. Spriggs

On 26th July, 1963, my constituent about whom I have been writing to the Minister regarding one of these invalid chairs was examined by a consultant at the hospital and the report was sent to the Ministry. I have been asking for weeks for a copy of that report and I have not received one yet, and I should like to ask the Minister, when considering this case, to consider it very deeply indeed, and to look at all aspects of the case, particularly when a man and his wife suffer infirmity of the lower limbs, to which I have referred, and particularly when neither of them can walk. I would ask whether the Minister will consider the total number involved in the country as a whole and, in view of what he has just said in reply to my hon. Friend, whether he would now consider that a case has been made for giving these people a little pleasure. If he does not, it means that these poor people—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have to remind the House that some element of brevity in supplementary questions is necessary in the general interest.

Mr. Spriggs

Yes, Mr. Speaker, but I have two Questions on the Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker

That does not affect the length of the supplementary question. The hon. Gentleman began with a lot of matter which was not interrogatory but merely informative, and then reached a point which I thought was excessive in length.