HC Deb 05 May 1971 vol 816 cc1358-9
17. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, with a view to avoiding disabled persons being stranded on lonely roads late at night due to the mechanical breakdown of disabled persons' cars, he will provide an additional seat in such cars for a passenger; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Edward Taylor

The implications of providing invalid vehicles with a passenger seat would be considerable and we have no plans to develop the service in this way.

Mr. Dempsey

Is the Under-Secretary aware that a disabled person was recently stranded on a lonely highway until the early hours of the morning and that, but for the passing of a good Samaritan, he would have been stranded there till the following afternoon? Does he appreciate that these circumstances show the reasonableness of our request that an additional seat should be available for a passenger to ensure that the disabled have assistance whenever they require it?

Mr. Taylor

I am distressed to hear about the case which the hon. Gentleman cites. However, his request, though a general one, would have real implications. A review of invalid transport is now being undertaken, but I cannot anticipate its outcome.

Mr. Russell Johnston

I beg the Minister to consider this matter carefully because, apart from the valid point made by the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey), there is the antisocial aspect of a disabled person being obliged to travel alone. In the survey which he is conducting will he look with particular care into the difficulties confronting those with respiratory problems, who need transport other than that designed for people with a limited disability?

Mr. Taylor

I am grateful for that observation, which raises an important aspect. It would be wrong for me to anticipate the outcome of the review, but hon. Members can rest assured that all important points will be taken into account.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is support in all parts of the House for action along the lines that have been mentioned and that we must begin to move to the point at which the disabled are enabled to drive larger cars than the vehicles at present designed for them?

Mr. Taylor

I am aware of the real and sincere feelings that are held in all parts of the House on such matters. We must bear in mind our financial resources, but I assure my hon. Friend that his views will be taken into account in the review.

Mr. Ross

When will the review be completed? Will its findings be published?

Mr. Taylor

The whole subject is extremely complex and much detailed consideration is necessary to ensure that the disabled receive fair treatment, within the resources that are available. I cannot indicate when the review will be completed, but when it is, an announcement will be made.

Number Ratio of graduates to pupils
Honours Ordinary All Honours Ordinary All
1960–61 * * 10,025 * * 1:28.7
1968–69 5,158 6,206 11,364 1:59.0 1:49.8 1:27.0
1969–70 5,355 6,168 11,523 1:59.2 1:51.4 1:27.5
1970–71 5,561 6,630 12,191 1:58.8 1:49.3 1:26.8
* Not separately available.

Note: Teacher figures relate to qualified teachers only and exclude supply, relief and visiting teachers.