HC Deb 15 March 1983 vol 39 cc119-20
8. Mr. Woodall

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent action has been taken to ensure the fuller implementation of section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act.

11. Mr. Ioan Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent steps he has taken to improve the implementation of section 1 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rossi

Local authorities are aware of their duties under sections 1 and 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and implementation is a matter' for them.

Mr. Woodall

Will the Minister make it clear, as has the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, that keeping disabled people on waiting lists for a long time is illegal? Will the hon. Gentleman give a categoric assurance about the advice that he is giving to local authorities on this important matter?

Mr. Rossi

Lists are a conglomeration of individual cases. If individual cases are referred to me, they will be investigated.

Mr. Evans

Is the Minister aware that full identification of the disabled is a prerequisite to ensuring that help is given to those who most need it? Will the hon. Gentleman make it clear that section 1 of the Act relates not to sample surveys but to the full and individual identification of the disabled in every locality?

Mr. Rossi

Identification is an important responsibility of local authorities. As far as I am aware, they are doing their best to discharge their duties under the Act.

Mr. Wigley

Will the Minister confirm that it is no excuse for local authorities to plead poverty so as not to undertake their statutory responsibilities under the Act?

Mr. Rossi

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Is my hon. Friend aware of the exhibition in the Upper Waiting Hall entitled "Communications for the Aged and Disabled"? Will he encourage local authorities to visit the exhibition within the next few days, because it would not only help local authorities to save money but ensure that the aged and infirm were able to lead a more meaningful life?

Mr. Rossi

I am aware of the part played by my hon. Friend in mounting the exhibition, and I recommend all to see it if they can spare the time.

Mr. Ashley

The implementation of the Act will reduce discrimination against disabled people. Has the Minister received a letter from Peter Large, who was chairman of the committee that produced a report advocating legislation against discrimination, in which he accuses the Minister of grossly misleading the House of Commons in a recent debate? If so, what was his response, and will he place a copy of it in the Library?

Mr. Rossi

I have not seen that letter, and I refute the imputation.

Mr. Terry Davis

Will the Minister reconsider the answer that he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hemsworth (Mr. Woodall)? Is there not some evidence of a trend among local authorities to institute waiting lists for people who have applied for help under the Act? How many local authorities are now operating waiting lists and how many people are on them? Will the hon. Gentleman use the default powers if he receives evidence of local authorities operating waiting lists as a dodge to avoid the responsibility that has been placed upon them by an Act of Parliament?

Mr. Rossi

One specific allegation was referred to me, the matter was looked into, and I understand that the problem has been resolved. I deplore the maintaining of waiting lists for those whose need has been recognised and where the local authority should be discharging its obligation to the community. As I said, under the Act my responsibility is to individual families. That is the legal advice that I have been given.