HC Deb 11 April 1986 vol 95 cc500-1

'(1) In section 29 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 in subsection (2) (which extends the Act to Scotland) for paragraph (a) there shall be substituted the following paragraph—

"(a) any references to functions under section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948 shall be construed as references to duties to—

  1. (i) chronically sick or disabled persons;
  2. (ii) persons suffering from mental disorder, (being persons in need) under section 12 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968;".

(2) Subsection (1) above extends to Scotland only.'.—Mr. John MacKay.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. John MacKay

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

New clause 1 clarifies the position of mentally disordered persons in Scotland in relation to local authority duties under sections 1 and 2 (1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

My inquiries into the working of the present chronically sick and disabled persons legislation in Scotland suggested that local authorities did not all regard the duty to provide services in cases of evident need as applying equally to the mentally disordered and those suffering from physical or sensory disability. I thought it appropriate to use the present legislative opportunity to clarify the position. Therefore, in Committee I offered to seek, in the consultations that we had decided to undertake, the views of local authority and other interests on whether the term "disabled persons" in the Scottish application of the present Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act should be defined to include mental disability. That was welcomed by the Bill's sponsors and the Committee in general.

The views expressed on that proposal were generally supportive. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities felt that clarification was desirable for the avoidance of doubt, although, I am happy to record, it felt that any such doubt was likely to be comparatively uncommon. That favourable view was echoed by other bodies, mainly those representing persons suffering from mental disorder.

The provision that I have tabled accordingly takes the form of a replacement for the provision of section 1(1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Scotland) Act 1972, which originally applied sections 1 and 2 of the 1970 Act to Scotland, but did not make specific reference to persons suffering from mental disorder. To that extent, in future the law in Scotland will be the same as that already applying in England and Wales, where it is clear from th terms of section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948 as amended that local authority duties under that provision and hence under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Acts extend to persons suffering from mental disorder.

I hope that with that explanation of what the new clause does, it will be acceptable to the House and the hon. Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke), who I am sure is as keen as I am that the provisions should be clearly understood in Scotland by the local authorities as applying to people with mental disorders.

Mr. Tom Clarke

I should make it clear that my position has not changed at all on this matter. I recognise that the new clause is a technical correction. I am sure that the Minister will accept that description. I would not wish to oppose it. For the convenience of the House, I suggest that we accept the hon. Gentleman's proposals.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Forward to