HC Deb 03 November 1969 vol 790 cc633-4
38. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the provision of aid for the non-industrially disabled.

Mr. Ennals

The Government's proposals for earnings-related sickness benefit and invalidity pension and for an attendance allowance for the very severely disabled were set out in the White Paper published last July (Cmnd. 4124). For further details, I would ask the hon. Member to await the forthcoming Bill announced in the Queen's Speech.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Is not the immediate and pressing need the provision of an allowance for the non-industrially disabled equivalent to the present retirement pension?

Mr. Ennals

This is a very important decision that we have taken to introduce this attendance allowance. It recognises that there is a need which our present social security provisions do not meet. The allowance when it comes into operation, and when it is presented in the Bill, will be seen as a very considerable step forward in the way in which our society accepts responsibility for the disabled people who are neither war disabled nor industrially injured.

Mr. Dean

Does not the hon. Gentleman recognise that the proposed allowance will help only a very tiny proportion of the civilian disabled?

Mr. Ennals

It will not help all those who are disabled, because this is an enormous job. It will be limited to those who are very severely disabled on whose families the responsibility for looking atfer them is heaviest.