HC Deb 15 March 1983 vol 39 cc120-1
9. Mr. Freud

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the co-operation between his Department and voluntary organisations.

Mr. Newton

The Department has close, frequent and cordial contacts with well over 200 voluntary organisations, but if the hon. Member has a particular problem in mind I shall be pleased to consider it.

Mr. Freud

Does the Minister accept that the Government's health priorities mean that the responsibility of caring for severely handicapped and disabled children is being left to voluntary organisations? Will he at least rid these organisations of the burden of paying VAT, as he has rid the health authorities of that burden?

Mr. Newton

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand if I say that I believe the main thrust of his question is directed at someone who will be at this Box a little later. After the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about Tadworth Court hospital yesterday and the help for various important voluntary organisations that care for many severely handicapped and dying children, the Government can hardly be accused of not offering help to voluntary organisations.

Mr. Carter-Jones

What representation has the Minister made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about charging VAT to voluntary organisations? Will he publish this information in the Official Report?

Mr. Newton

The hon. Gentleman must think that I am green as well as damp.

Mr. Viggers

Is my hon. Friend aware that Voluntary Service Overseas is worried that returning volunteers—about 600 a year—do not have proper class 1 contributions because adequate arrangements cannot be made for their contributions while they are giving overseas service? Has the Minister given any attention to this point, and can he hold out any hope to the organisation and the volunteers?

Mr. Newton

I am aware of the problem. It is rather complicated, and, if I may, I shall write to my hon. Friend about it.

Forward to