HC Deb 06 April 1971 vol 815 cc221-2
6. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what financial help is given by his Department to disabled people who wish to purchase a four-wheeled vehicle to replace a three-wheeled vehicle which has been supplied by his Department.

Mr. Alison

Anyone who has been supplied with a three-wheeled vehicle may give it up and have instead a grant, up to a maximum of £90, towards the cost of modifying the foot controls of a car for operation by hand.

Mr. Cox

With respect, that is not the question that I asked the hon. Gentleman. I asked a question about people who, by their own efforts, wish to purchase a four-wheeled vehicle to replace a vehicle that has been supplied by the right hon. Gentleman's Department. As he must know, many people feel a lack a safety when driving tricycles. Also, there is no provision whatever for their family to travel with them. Surely when disabled people—we all know that they face many problems—by their own efforts wish to purchase a four-wheeled vehicle, the Government should acknowledge that effort and make some financial contribution towards the maintenance and running costs of such a vehicle.

Mr. Alison

The hon. Gentleman knows that if an individual is entitled—and some are, both war pensioners and certain limited National Health Service patients—to a four-wheeled vehicle, he can get assistance to purchase the particular model he requires. As for the subsidy of a four-wheeled family motoring vehicle for individuals who would qualify for three-wheelers, we could not extend our range of services to that at present.

Sir R. Cary

Is it worth while for the Department to continue to supply three-wheeled vehicles?

Mr. Alison

A three-wheeled vehicle is indispensable for certain categories of disability. It has special provision for carrying invalid chairs within it, special light steering, and for some categories it is the only sort of vehicle that they could use.

Mr. Spearing

Is it not a fact that when a person purchases a four-wheeled vehicle and gives up a tricycle which he has already, the amount of grant that he gets for that four-wheeled vehicle is less than he got for the three-wheeler? If that is so, would the Minister look at this anomaly and remedy it?

Mr. Alison

I will certainly consider that point.