§ 10. Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from the Central Council for the Disabled concerning the application to Northern Ireland of the whole of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970; what reply he has sent; and if he will make a statement.
§ 11. Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will now take steps to ensure the application to Northern Ireland of all provisions of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970.
§ Mr. Channon
My right hon. Friend has been asked by the Central Council for the Disabled to consider extending the provisions of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970, to Northern Ireland. I have replied that existing Northern Ireland legislation provides for many of the provisions of this Act but that I am investigating whether further action should be taken.
§ Mr. Morris
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there could hardly be a more constructive and humane task than this? Will he keep the matter under both constant and detailed review and retain the closest possible contact with the Central Council for the Disabled?
§ Mr. Ashley
While I recognise and respect the preoccupations of his right hon. Friend, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that this matter requires very little investigation and that apart from the implementation of this Act helping individual disabled people it could go a long way to help to unify Northern Ireland because it would apply to all people who are disabled, irrespective of their political or religious beliefs?
§ Mr. Channon
I agree with a lot of what the hon. Gentleman says. I am not sure that further legislation would be necessary and I am examining the matter to see whether the discretions that already exist are being used to the fullest possible extent.