HC Deb 05 December 1973 vol 865 cc1289-90
Mr. Pavitt

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration; namely, the breakdown of many services for the mentally handicapped, disabled and welfare groups served by local authorities and voluntary organisations through failure to get petrol for the vehicles used. I do not do this lightly. I have been in the House since 1959, and this is the first occasion on which I have sought to have a debate under Standing Order No. 9. The matter is factual and specific because what has happened is that, because of the cut in petrol supplies, people who need to be conveyed to sheltered workshops are able to go to work for only three days a week instead of five. Those who are disabled and in open employment are having extreme difficulty in getting to work, and this affects not only the disabled themselves but also their families and the arrangements that are necessary for the care of these people.

The matter is important because of the effect that this is having on the livelihood and health of these unfortunate citizens. One accepts that the disabled and mentally handicapped are a minority of the community, but it is the responsibility of this House to protect their interests.

I am seeking leave to move the Adjournment of the House because, although I was grateful for what the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry said today about trying to provide special facilities as speedily as possible, it is my view that that will be impossible unless the House has an opportunity to consider all the factors involved.

There are many different points that need to be considered in relation to the mentally handicapped, the disabled and those who need help from the social services, and in particular the emergency services which are statutory under the Mental Health Act. After 5 p.m. and at weekends mental health officers must be able to act quickly and get to where their help is needed. I therefore ask that this democratic assembly should have the opportunity to grapple with these problems at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving me notice of his intention to make this application.

I have listened carefully to what the hon. Member said, and I have had regard to what took place earlier this afternoon at Question Time. I appreciate the anxieties and problems involved, but I cannot allow a debate under Standing Order No. 9.