§ As amended, again considered.
§ Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
I have now completed the technical reasons for not accepting the amendment of the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe. However, I hope that I have satisfied him that our intentions are the same. We hope that, wherever possible, those receiving supplementary benefit will not be charged for local authority services except those for which their supplementary benefit contains some payment. We hope that will be achieved steadily by local authorities as their resources permit and in the light of the guidance to be prepared for them by their associations. Therefore, I hope that with that undertaking we are at least both working in the same direction and that the right hon. Gentleman will agree to withdraw his amendment.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
I am grateful to the Minister for giving so thoughtful a reply to an amendment of which unavoidably he had very little notice. The hon. Gentleman is clearly and strongly against charging people on supplementary benefit for local authority services where no allowance is made by his Department to help in paying for the services concerned. I mentioned the case of a severely disabled woman in west Sussex. I hope that the Minister will join me in asking the county council there not to pursue her through the courts because she cannot pay £30 for her home help. As I said, she is on supplementary benefit. She is likely to find herself in an institution if she cannot pay for her home help and is pursued for payment by the local authority.
In keeping with the spirit of the agreement reached about the Bill across the Floor, I shall not press my amendment, but there is need for more clarification. I know that the Minister will do his best to make the Government's position clear to local authorities. I hope that, for their part, local authorities will recognise that they are not reducing public expenditure by harrying people of the kind I have mentioned. In the end they will increase public expenditure by forcing people who could live in the community into hospital care. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.