HC Deb 12 July 1965 vol 716 cc21-2
21. Mr. Astor

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if she will now introduce a constant attendance allowance to those who are chronically sick or disabled.

Miss Herbison

Provision for the chronic sick and severely disabled people is one of the many important matters which are being considered in connection with the comprehensive review of the social services on which the Government is engaged.

Mr. Astor

Would not the right hon. Lady agree that this is one of the plans which should have been ready to swing into instant operation? Could she give urgent attention to this group of people who are not only disabled but totally dependent on others for their very existence? Could she treat this as a matter of urgency ahead of the general review?

Miss Herbison

Certainly. It was because we realised that grave hardship was being suffered by many of the chronic sick that we included this in our policy for a Labour Government. If something had been done for the chronic sick between 1951 and 1964, we would not have had all these Questions on this subject this afternoon.

Mr. Will Griffiths

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most of us appreciate that the comprehensive review which is being undertaken by the Government will take a considerable—[Interruption.]—some time—anyway, it will not take as long as you took to do nothing.

Mr. Speaker

I have nothing to do with these things. We must keep to the rules or we get confused.

Mr. Griffiths

I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker. Could my right hon. Friend consult her colleagues in the Government and see whether it would be possible to give an interim report to Parliament whilst the review is proceeding?

Miss Herbison

That may be possible. There are a number of matters where our examinations are nearly complete, and it might be possible to bring forward some proposals.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is not this Government becoming a non-stop review, with the difference that this one will close?

Miss Herbison

I would again remind the hon. Member that if such a review had been carried out at any time during those 13 years, we might now have been able to go forward with the work that is being done. Again I stress the fact that the majority of people realise that what we have done already on the social security front is an earnest of our desire to complete the full programme.

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