HL Deb 09 February 1984 vol 447 cc1266-7

3.4 p.m.

Lord Gainford

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the increase in spending, in real terms, on the mobility allowance since 1978–79.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Lord Glenarthur)

My Lords, expenditure on mobility allowance has risen by 259 per cent., in real terms, since 1978–79.

Lord Gainford

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that encouraging figure. May I ask whether he has the figure for the number of people in fact drawing mobility allowance?

Lord Glenarthur

Yes, my Lords. There are currently about 305,000 people in receipt of mobility allowance. The estimated annual cost of the benefit is approaching £300 million. This Government brought the 61 to 64 age group into mobility allowance in 1979, earlier than had been planned previously, helping 30,000 more people.

Baroness Jeger

My Lords, can the noble Lord tell the House when we might hear the Government's response to the Oglesby Report, which dealt, inter alia, with the question of mobility allowances? Secondly, can he tell us whether there has been any improvement by way of reduction in the delay between an application for a mobility allowance and the granting of it, which has caused great concern?

Lord Glenarthur

My Lords, the report has been received and has been circulated to interested organisations for comment. The recommendations made in the report will be considered in the light of the comments which we receive. As far as delays are concerned, it might appear that there have been delays but that has been due to the fact that there have been many more claimants, rather than because any claim has been held up for other reasons.