HC Deb 04 December 1967 vol 755 cc941-2
34 and 42. Mr. Astor

asked the Minister of Social Security (1) if she will extend the provision of an allowance for constant attendance in cases of disablement arising from industrial accident or disease to all severely disabled people requiring constant attendance because of loss of faculty, irrespective of its cause;

(2) if she will amend the rates of benefit payable under the National Insurance Scheme in respect of severe disablement, to make them comparable to the benefits payable under the Industrial Injuries Insurance Scheme.

Mrs. Hart

Provision is already made under the National Insurance and Supplementary Benefits Schemes for severely disabled people who are unable or too old to work. The benefits under both schemes have keen increased in recent weeks. The special problems of the severely disabled are being studied at present.

Mr. Astor

Does the right hon. Lady agree that it is desirable that severely disabled people should be encouraged and enabled to live at home? Is she aware that a group of these people do not get any support now? Can she indicate when she may be able to bring forward proposals to help this group of people?

Mrs. Hart

As I said in reply to an earlier Question by the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), one of the main problems here is getting information about incidence. We have not had this information before and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health's survey should help a great deal in this respect. I am very much aware of this problem, but this is a question of doing a good deal of research before one can produce proposals.

Mr. Lubbock

What representations has the right hon. Lady had about people who are not covered by the National Insurance Scheme? Is she prepared to introduced an allowance for these people and so see that they can pay for home attendants and not have to go into hospital?

Mrs. Hart

This is exactly the problem with which I am concerned and at which I am looking. Where chronic disablement or sickness arises and where those concerned are not insured, a real problem of course occurs. There is a gap in the Welfare State here and I assure the hon. Gentleman that I am prepared to examine this problem.