HC Deb 07 April 1987 vol 114 cc149-50
4. Mr. Frank Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about attendance allowance to people suffering from epilepsy.

Mr. Major

Attendance allowance is available to people suffering from epilepsy who fulfil certain conditions for attention or continual supervision. These matters are adjudicated by the attendance allowance board or a doctor delegated on its behalf. The interpretation of the "continual supervision" criterion has been affected by the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Mrs. Dorothy Moran. The attendance allowance board is preparing revised guidelines on this matter for use by its delegated doctors.

Mr. Field

I thank the Minister for that reply. Will he now answer the question in simple English, so that disabled people can understand? Will the Government now dispute the success of Mrs. Moran by going to the House of Lords, even though the Court of Appeal refused her permission to do so? Will the Minister extend his congratulations to my constituent, Mrs. Moran, for scoring her success? Is it not uncharacteristically ungenerous of the Minister not to extend his congratulations to the two lawyers—Mr. Nicholas Warren and Mr. Richard Drabble—who, on this and many other occasions, have advanced the Government's policy that everyone should remain within the law, including the Government?

Mr. Major

On the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question, I am not quite sure of the current score between Mr. Drabble and the Government.

Mr. Dobson

Four all

Mr. Speaker


Mr. Major

Perhaps there is cause for congratulations on both sides. As regards the appeal, about which the hon. Gentleman asked his substantive question, we do not propose to appeal against the judgment.

Mr. Marlow

Will my hon. Friend look into the circumstances whereby epilepsy can be caused by the defecation of dogs in public areas? When he has done so, will he support his hon. Friend in the Home Office in taking action to clean up our parks and other areas, which are disease ridden at the moment?

Mr. Major

I admire my hon. Friend's ingenuity. I am not sure whether his supplementary question is related to the attendance allowance, but I shall ensure that Home Office Minister's are aware of his concern.

Mr. Soames

Is my hon. Friend aware of the difficulties that arise for parents of children below the age of two years who are not entitled to claim attendance allowance, while a parent who is fostering a child who is severely handicapped and disabled is entitled to claim the allowance? Does he agree that this is an unfair discrimination?

Mr. Major

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that matter, which I am examining.