§ 2.38 p.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have already taken to make the advantages of Motability known as widely as possible, and what further steps they propose to take in this direction.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, while Motability receives the full support of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Social Services and of the Minister for the Disabled, it is a voluntary organisation which is independent of Government. On this basis, and at Motability's request, my Department and the Department of Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland have advised all mobility allowance beneficiaries of what the new organisation has to offer. The organisation has produced two leaflets, one which describes its role and which is for general use, and a second one specifically intended for those who are both in receipt of mobility allowance and are in the age-groups from whom Motability is ready to consider applications for help under its new car leasing scheme. I am pleased to be able to tell your Lordships that the distribution of these two leaflets, to all who may be eligible to use Motability's car leasing scheme, is complete. Copies of the leaflets have been placed in the Library.
§ Lord SEGAL
My Lords, I should like to thank my noble friend for that very helpful and informative reply. Would 834 he not agree that this excellent plan for the leasing of motor cars to handicapped persons affects far more people than the Government's kidney transplant campaign, so warmly advocated by the late Lord Platt, whose untimely death we all deplore and who will be sadly missed in all parts of your Lordships' House?
If the Government do not wish the advantages of Motability to be taken up too rapidly, as happened with the attendance allowance in the case of the previous Government, could they seek to keep the general public fully informed of the progress of the scheme by issuing figures, either monthly or quarterly, of the numbers of disabled persons who have been able to benefit from Motability?
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, perhaps your Lordships would allow me to say that all your Lordships, I feel sure, would wish to be associated with my noble friend's comments about the late Lord Platt. I personally had a good deal to do with him on one thing and another, and I think that one had nothing but admiration for what he was trying to do.
With regard to Motability, it will be of interest, I am sure, for me to say that the present intention of Motability is to start with young adults, aged 16 to 19, and work through to those of pensionable age; that is, 65 for men and 60 for women. Then it proposes to deal with applications where a disabled child has a mobility allowance, and finally to invite applications from people of over-pensionable age. This is its method of procedure at the present moment. As I said, it is an independent body. It is made up of members drawn from a very wide field of finance and industry, the various professions, the trade union movement and voluntary organisations. Its priorities seem to be those which are rather urgent at the present moment.