HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 cc10-1
10. Mr. Lawrence

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many disabled people will benefit from the introduction of (a) the disability living allowance and (b) the disability working allowance.

Mr. Scott

We estimate that nearly 300,000 people will benefit from the introduction of disability living allowance and about 50,000 will be receiving disability working allowance at any one time.

Mr. Lawrence

Are not these considerable, substantial and constructive improvements in the conditions of disabled people in Britain? Is not there a world of difference between Labour promises, which are not even priority pledges and which socialist management of the economy could never deliver any more than it did the last time that the Labour party was in power, and actual Conservative deeds?

Mr. Scott

I am delighted that my hon. and learned Friend recognises both the progress that we seek to make and the failure of the Opposition. There was previously a partial incapacity benefit. For the first time, we are introducing a benefit that will encourage those who are able and want to work, to do so. That is a great step in the right direction. I am also pleased that, in the vast majority of cases, we have moved away from medical assessment to self-assessment, as that is a better way to handle these matters.

Ms. Mowlam

Will the Minister express his disgust at the fact that one group of disabled—haemophiliacs suffering from AIDS—has not yet received a penny from the Government? Will he assure the House now that anyone who applies to the Macfarlane Trust and eventually, through the rhetoric, gets some money, will not be denied any social security benefits such as disability working allowance?

Mr. Scott

The hon. Lady is wrong to suggest that haemophiliacs have not received any money from the Government. They have received a great deal of money. There was a lot of misleading comment in the press this weekend and I should like not only to lay that ghost but to refute the suggestion that payments from the haemophiliac trust, the Macfarlane Trust, are not being disregarded for social security benefits. They are and they will continue to be so.