HC Deb 21 December 1971 vol 828 cc1289-90
16. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is now able to announce the result of the review of the invalid vehicle service.

Mr. Alison

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) on 16th December.—[Vol. 828, c. 186–7.]

Mr. Blaker

My hon. Friend will recall our correspondence about a constituent of mine who is unable to follow his usual occupation because he requires a certain minimum temperature which is not provided by the present vehicle heater. It may be that by means of greater flexibility in the rules or in the design of the vehicle, which would enable people to work who are not able to do so at present, there would be no extra expenditure necessary from Government funds.

Mr. Alison

Flexibility of both kinds is under consideration in the review.

Mrs. Castle

Will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend, in making the promised announcement, to ensure that, at the least, it covers the three special categories of haemophiliacs, disabled mothers and disabled passengers, whose case was pressed with the Prime Minister a day or two ago by a deputation led by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris)? I understand that the announcement is promised for the New Year. Can the hon. Gentleman assure the House that it will not be made during the parliamentary Recess?

Mr. Alison

I can certainly reassure the right hon. Lady about the last question. The deputation was led jointly by the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) and my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten). The points about which the right hon. Lady seeks a pre-emptive statement will certainly be considered, but it would be improper for me to comment upon them before an announcement is made to the House.

Mr. Marten

Does my hon. Friend recognise that there has been a considerable slippage in the announcement of the timing of this review and, as it is rumoured that Government changes are in the air, can my hon. Friend give me an assurance that if he is promoted, deservedly, to higher office, his replacement will not start all over again?

Mr. Alison

I shall endeavour, wherever I move, to take the interests of the invalid vehicle service with me.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Ministers must address the Chair. Then I might have a chance to share in what is being said.

Mr. Alison

The time spent on the review has been extended but time spent on improvement is time well spent.