HL Deb 12 July 1989 vol 510 cc264-87

Report received.

Clause 9 [Mobility allowance: increase of age limit to 80 years]:

Lord Carter moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 9, line 15, at beginning insert— ("( ) In section 37A of the principal Act (mobility allowance) at the end of subsection (1) insert "or is deaf and blind or is suffering from severe mental handicap such that he is either unable to walk or virtually unable to do so without physical control by another person". ( ) In subsection (2) of that section leave out "physical".).

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment was discussed in Committee and was then withdrawn to enable those of us who had moved the amendment to study the Minister's response.

We discussed the amendment at some length at the Committee stage and it received support in all parts of the chamber. However, it may help noble Lords if I briefly restate the background to the amendment.

The mobility allowance is a non-means tested benefit. It is paid as a result of physical disability such that the claimant is unable to walk, virtually unable to walk or where the exertion of walking would endanger life or lead to a serious deterioration in health.

A number of problems have arisen regarding the interpretation of the phrase, "virtually unable to walk", especially for the deaf blind and those with severe mental handicap. A number of the commission's decisions attempting to interpret the regulations have been confusing and contradictory and are often reversed on appeal. This amendment is intended to make it clear that a comparatively small group of fewer than 8,000 people should receive the mobility allowance. I should like to make it entirely clear that the intention of the amendment is not to introduce a new concept or to extend the eligibility of allowance to a large new group of people, or indeed to introduce a new allowance. The intention is simply to clarify the current very confusing situation and to ensure that those responsible for some of the most severely handicapped people in our society do not have to apply and appeal up to three times before they receive the allowance. It is a fact that three-quarters of the people concerned qualify if their appeal reaches the third appeal stage. But it is understandable that many cannot stand the trauma of the appeal process and therefore do not attempt to press their case.

There has been some debate about the numbers of people involved. It was thought for some years that the number of people who would benefit from the proposed change would be in the order of 10,000 to 12,000. That was a figure which, so far as I am aware, has never been disputed by the Government. However, more recent work by SENSE and MENCAP suggests that a maximum of 3,200 deaf blind people would qualify plus 4,400 with severe mental handicap and thereby unpredictable behaviours. That is a total of 7,600 people.

Like all benefits, there is unlikely to be a 100 per cent. take-up. We are therefore talking about perhaps 6,000 to 7,000 people to be added to the 575,000 who already qualify. The cost would be no more than perhaps £8 million to £9 million per annum to be added to the £750 million which is the current cost of the mobility allowance.

The disability organisations and the all-party disablement group have been pressing for this change since at least 1985. When Mr. Tony Newton was the Minister for the Disabled, he said that he wanted some more information. He said that he would like to find a solution "at the margin". That is exactly what this amendment does. He was succeeded by Mr. John Major who said in 1987 that it was a question of definition and knowing the number involved, which the department at the time agreed was very small.

We have found the definition and we know that the number involved is even smaller than the 10,000 suggested to Mr. Major. Noble Lords may imagine the disappointment of the all-party disablement group when recently it met the current Minister, Mr. Nicholas Scott, and found that he was unaware of the points which had been agreed with Mr. Major. He then produced a new reason for delay. The Government now say that they must await the outcome of the OPCS surveys into disability and the review of the social security benefits which will follow the surveys.

Like many others, I have studied the five published parts of the survey. There is one more to come before the end of this month concerning the transport and education of disabled children. That will complete the six. I can save the department a lot of time. There is no information in the five reports that is relevant to this amendment and the problem with which it deals. There is nothing like a great big survey as an excuse for departmental delay and inaction. There will have to be wide-ranging consultations on the OPCS survey, and understandably so. Then there will be the review of benefits which I understand now is to be conducted inside the department. I suspect that it will be years before the full response to the OPCS surveys comes into legislation.

Those of us involved in this matter have all received dossiers of harrowing cases of people being refused a mobility allowance who on any understanding of the requirement should receive it. I quoted a number of these cases at Committee stage and have since received, not surprisingly, a large number of examples. In each of these cases involving a massive sensory impairment or severe mental handicap, it is quite clear that not only do the people concerned have an immense disability but that those who care for them have an enormous burden.

I shall give one further example that I know well. A women of 38 who lives in our village is brain damaged as a result of the whooping cough vaccine. She spends the majority of her time crouched in the foetal position. She shakes a plastic cup which is her form of security. Every time she moves she has to be assisted and controlled by her parents. She lives in a dim twilight world of her own. She is entirely liable to walk backwards, sideways or indeed under a bus. Her parents who are now rather elderly have to look after her. She requires continous physical control. She obviously suffers from severe mental handicap. She has been refused the mobility allowance because—as the rules state—she is able physically to put one foot in front of the other. In fact she is a very big strong lady.

I think we would all agree that it is entirely wrong that people in this condition should be denied the mobility allowance. The numbers and costs involved—7,600 people at a cost of £8 million to £9 million—are minuscule compared with the total cost of the mobility allowance. I find it hard to believe that the Government will turn us down yet once more. I beg to move.

Lord Allen of Abbeydale

My Lords, I support this amendment. As the noble Lord, Lord Carter, has explained, we are talking about two small and clearly defined groups of people. The amendment does not involve any new principle or any radical departure of policy. So far as concerns the groups of the mentally handicapped with which I have been particularly concerned, it has been accepted that those whose walking difficulties stem from handicaps which can be ascribed to a physical cause such as brain damage—whether the consequence of a genetic condition or the result of an accident—can qualify for the allowance. The additional numbers covered by this amendment, estimated to be at the most 4,400, as the noble Lord has explained, will be those who are severely mentally handicapped and who have behavioural problems requiring constant supervision but whose handicap has no identifiable physical cause. They may be able to walk in the sense of being able to put one foot in front of another, but if left to themselves no one would know which way they would walk, sideways, backwards or straight under a bus, or they might choose to lie down screaming in a tantrum in the middle of the highway.

The number of those who are both blind and deaf who do not already qualify for the allowance can be estimated with reasonable accuracy as being not more than 3,200. I am well aware that the noble Lord has given these figures in introducing the amendment, but they are so significantly small that it is worth rubbing in the very modest total and the very modest addition of expenditure which this would involve.

The Government for their part have not so far challenged either the calculation of the total or the calculation of the amount involved. They have expressed sympathy, but it has been explained that they fall back on the argument that we should wait for the OPCS surveys. It is fair to say that the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, implied at the Committee stage in reply to a question from the noble Lord, Lord Renton, that it could all be dealt with next year in the inevitable social security Bill in the coming Session. But I am afraid he rather took away that impression when on the next amendment, on the clause increasing the age limit—that is Clause 9 in the present print—he said that that clause now gives us a breathing space for five years. He went on to say: That is ample time in which to resolve and implement whatever changes may be needed generally concerning the allowance"—[Official Report, 22/6/89; col. 356]. I fear that these remarks serve only to confirm my doubt that it would scarcely be possible to publish the OPCS survey, to carry out consultations on its findings, to consider the outcome of those consultations, to come to decisions and to translate those decisions into legislative form—the point we are concerned with now is only one of a number of issues which will arise—all in time to put the conclusions in a Bill in the Session starting this autumn. My own belief is that there is no escaping the conclusion that, if we do not take this opportunity to help these people now, today, they will have to wait for years.

I confess to being just a shade surprised that the Government have resisted this modest proposal. In speaking to a number of people outside, some of them loyal Tory voters, the reaction I have gained is one of incredulity that they are not already covered. The amendment is concerned with some of the most grievously afflicted members of the community and those who care for them. Anyone who has had direct experience must be aware of the feelings of despair and frustration, the belief that authority is ranged up against one, and all that is involved in the waiting and expense of appeals. Deservedly or not, the Government's reputation among the disabled and their families is not very high. No doubt in a few minutes' time we shall be hearing some remarks about the inordinate length of time it has taken to come to a decision on the Griffiths Report.

The amendment gives the Government an opportunity to show that they are a caring and sympathetic government who are prepared to take this very small step to help some of our least privileged citizens.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, to my mind, the amendment illustrates vividly the difficulty which your Lordships' House is in in discussing one by one amendments to the Bill. Plainly on its merits it excites the sympathy of all your Lordships in all parts of the House. As the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeyfield, with his skill in advocacy brought out, it is comparatively small in its financial impact.

Lord Allen of Abbeydale

My Lords, I am sorry to intervene, but my title is "Abbeydale" not "Abbeyfield", which connotes other things.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I am sorry if I was in the wrong field. Dales are of course far more fertile. As the noble Lord brought out, the impact is comparatively small. Therefore it seems an easy matter for your Lordships to consider, taken in isolation. But the problem is, as any of us with experience of social security administration knows, that it would be possible to find quite a number of other issues which made a similar appeal both to one's mind and to one's feelings of sympathy and sensibility towards human suffering.

Your Lordships are in a difficulty—this is a fault of our procedure, not of your Lordships individually—in having to take these issues one by one. I believe your Lordships will agree that the mobility issue has been a great success. It has done more to relieve human suffering than almost any of the changes of recent years. It is natural that one should want to extend it to the meritorious class of people covered by the amendment. But what the Government have to do—as I am sure the Minister will tell us in a few minutes—is to weigh this against all the other claims which can and will very properly be made. That is the real problem. It is perhaps an argument for waiting for the OPCS survey, which we hope will line up these various good causes in order of proper priority.

I shall certainly wait to hear what the Minister says, but my present feeling is that there is perhaps a little danger in allowing one's natural sympathy with this proposal to cause one to feel that it should be selected for treatment when other issues of equal importance are not being selected, perhaps for good reason. I shall listen to my noble friend's speech and I hope and believe that he will express a good deal of sympathy with the ideas behind the amendment.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Skelmersdale)

My Lords, without in any way wishing to curtail the debate, I thought it would be helpful to the House, especially in view of the speech that my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter has just made, if I at this stage put forward the Government's plans concerning help for these most unfortunate of people so movingly described by the noble Lords, Lord Carter and Lord Allen of Abbeydale. As I told my noble friend the Duke of Norfolk in Committee concerning attendance allowance for the terminally ill, we are not afraid to act as promptly as circumstances allow. On this matter of mobility allowance for the deaf/blind and the mentally handicapped, I cannot stress too strongly that we are wanting to act, willing to act, but waiting to act.

The question we have to ask ourselves, therefore is, why wait? The Government are nearing the end of a voyage of discovery—a voyage which when completed by the end of this month will reveal the largest amount of information ever assembled on the numbers, needs and financial circumstances of disabled people. Five of the six OPCS reports are already published. In terms of this amendment they contain information that the noble Lord, Lord Carter, has made quite clear to us he did not know when he and his advisers originally got together to plan what they could do for deaf/blind and mentally handicapped people.

I confirm at once to the noble Lord that it is true that the published reports do not set out in detail the findings on which our estimates are based. Those estimates have been derived from further analysis of the data tapes, drawing on the data relating to behavioural disability. We shall be willing to explore the data with interested groups if they wish. The data tapes are now available in the Economic and Social Research Council's data archive and are accessible to bona fide researchers. They provide all the data not available in the reports themselves. Why do I say that? These reveal that there might be, not less than 8,000 people covered by the amendment, but in fact over 100,000. I say "might" for a very good reason, because we can never say for certain how a particular statutory definition will apply in practice.

I know that the proposers of this amendment sincerely intend that it should apply to only a small group of severely mentally handicapped people. The noble Lord, Lord Carter, explained in Committee, and again today, how the numerical estimate was arrived at. However, as I said, we now have the survey data which shows that there are over 100,000 people who have disabilities affecting their behaviour and intellectual functioning, to such an extent that it could very reasonably be argued that they need to be accompanied in public, even to the extent of physical contact and control.

On the basis of these figures, the amendment could cost anywhere between the £8 million mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Carter, and a massive £120 million. In fact, of course, it would be somewhere in the middle because some people in this position, as my noble friend Lord Renton confirmed in Committee, are already receiving mobility allowance and in some cases attendance allowance as well.

Be that as it may, the fact is that there are probably a considerable number who do not qualify for these allowances, and I go along with the noble Lord, Lord Carter, to say that we must seriously consider whether we can help them. But should it be with mobility allowance which the noble Lord, Lord Ennals introduced? We need to decide whether this is the appropriate benefit, at the very least. Mobility allowance is currently unattached to any specific condition or illness, the criterion being that it is paid in cases of physical disablement resulting in inability or virtual inability to walk. This has stood the disabled in very good stead since 1976, and numbers and expenditure have risen to a very considerable extent. If this is the case, the allowance is already paid; but in cases where a person is physically able to walk where indeed he is a danger to himself or other people, he is not eligible. That is the problem which the noble Lord, Lord Carter, and the Government wish to solve.

And solve it, my Lords, we will, just as soon as we possibly can. But not so fast that we do not take account of all the OPCS reports, which will very soon be available. As the reports have been published we have encouraged all interested parties to comment on them and their implications for benefits. In view of the figures I have quoted, I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Carter, and his colleagues and the organisations with which they are in touch will want to look carefully at the data that is relevant to their special concern, and I hope, to discuss them with the department. But meanwhile, the large sums of money that could be at stake mean that we cannot take this as a quick interim measure regardless of the wider changes that the reports may indicate.

The information we already have from OPCS surveys, and the need to integrate that with the remaining information soon to be received, means that the Government could not honestly and responsibly accept the solution proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Carter—however tempting and sincerely intended that proposal undoubtedly is. But I can assure the House of our serious intent to find some solution to the problem he has posed. I shall now listen carefully to what other noble Lords have to say. If your Lordships give me leave—and I must make the point, only if your Lordships give me leave—I shall reply to their points later.

3.30 p.m.

Baroness Faithfull

My Lords, following the statement by my noble friend the Minister, perhaps I may ask whether the data report will show how many people would go into institutional care if they did not receive the mobility allowance. Will this report show that? I believe that it is a very significant figure inasmuch as institutional care for this category of people is very expensive.

Lord Trafford

My Lords, I agree with everything that the noble Lords, Lord Carter and Lord Allen, said. I was not aware until two minutes ago of the actual figures which were quoted by the Minister. I do not think I am that worried by the figures and the discrepancy between those quoted by him and those of the noble Lord, Lord Carter, for this reason. One of my anxieties about the amendment is the drafting. Perhaps I may refer to the third line: is either unable to walk or virtually unable to do so". One of the problems that is extremely difficult in regard to all social security payments, all allowances and so forth is that of definition. When the attendance allowance was originally introduced and, up to a point, when the mobility allowance was introduced, the problem was that persons would apply and two different interpretations would be given. In many cases the matter would go to commissions and appeals, as in the story which the noble Lord, Lord Carter, told. I believe that about two-thirds of the appeals are usually granted but nonetheless, however many it may be, the situation is unfortunate.

Therefore with these allowances one needs to have a clear definition of what the person is entitled to. I feel that as regards the mobility allowance and the question of being unable to walk—put graphically by the noble Lord, Lord Carter, who described it as "putting one foot in front of another"—we need a clear cut definition. The amendment says, "or virtually unable", and when we talk about that we introduce a doubt. That is why I do not like the phrase in the amendment. We introduce a doubt and the question, what is "virtually unable to walk"? Many people, for example—

Lord Carter

My Lords, will the noble Lord give way?

Lord Trafford

My Lords, perhaps I may finish my point and then of course I shall give way to the noble Lord, with pleasure. Many people are virtually unable to walk. It may be that it would be reasonable for people to argue then that this should be part and parcel of the definition of the allowance; it should be defined more clearly so that we know what we are talking about.

However, I suspect it may account in part for the discrepancy in the figures given on both sides of the House. Perhaps I may say that I personally would very much like to see something done, not next year or in five years' time, as the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, said, but much more rapidly. I should have liked to see an amendment giving an enabling power to the Secretary of State to do something about the situation in the meantime, rather than wait for another Bill, which was talked about previously. I should have liked something along those lines.

However, as regards this amendment I fear that we may run into a problem of definition which will lead to hundreds of appeals. Those are always distressing for people who have to prove that they are decrepit or that they cannot do this, that or the other.

Another point relevant to what I am talking about concerns the mentally handicapped and the behavioural problems which lead to people having to be with them, wherever they go. As the noble Lord, Lord Carter, pointed out in the example which he gave from, I think, his own village, that person was perfectly capable of putting one foot in front of another. These people are capable of walking, but they are not capable of looking after themselves, in the sense that if they go out then they must have people with them. I suspect that what they should have and what would be more appropriate is an attendance allowance rather than a mobility allowance. Once again, the question is one of definition.

I should like to ask the Minister—whether he is talking about the 6,000 or 8,000 referred to when the amendment was moved, or about the 100,000 that might arise in the circumstances—how many of these people have the attendance allowance? I also wish to ask him whether there is any possibility of changing the amendment in such a way that there would be an enabling possibility which did not have to wait for further primary legislation or something similar in the field.

I have had some personal experience of carrying out various investigations and wondering what on earth to put on the bottom line before signing one's name. One knows how to do that, but what does one put on the bottom line as regards the recommendation? There is the need for a clearcut definition. There is this small point in the amendment which would make me feel, from experience as well as guess work, that it could lead to a great deal of distress, a widening of the applications greater than anticipated by the noble Lords. It might also give rise, I should have thought, to some considerable distress in the number of appeals that might result.

I hope that my noble friend the Minister is able to help us further when he comes to wind up on this amendment, both in terms of some form of enabling legislation or a change in the amendment. I hope that the noble Lord will take on board my point about the necessity for clarity regarding definition in order to reduce distress in appeals and the like.

Earl Russell

My Lords, before I attempt to answer the Minister, I should be grateful if I am allowed to set the record straight for having inadvertently misled the House when I spoke to this amendment in Committee. I quoted a figure from the Independent of 13th June saying that only seven out of 359 appeals had been successful. The newspaper published a correction last Tuesday showing that that figure came from the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. However, the figure from the Medical Appeals Tribunal, which is the correct one, was 27 per cent. I owe it to the House to join with the newspaper in attempting to put right that error.

The noble Lord, Lord Carter, has made out very clearly the basic case for this amendment. We have a situation in which the law is not treating like equally with like. That has put the Minister in a rather uncomfortable position. We all know that one of the real curses of the profession of politics is people in it who are against power. In listening to the answers to this amendment, we may hear some reasons why that comes to be so.

I know that the Minister cares about these issues just as we do; but he has been put in a position where he has had to come in and hold a bat which would have been unusually dead even for Geoff Boycott on a bad day at Old Trafford. We have the principle of unripe time which always makes me want to observe irreverently that I wonder when the time will come to be rotten.

We have the argument of the floodgates. That shows that the Government very much overrate the attractiveness of their social security benefits. I have not been in the position to check the figure of 100,000 just offered to us by the Minister. However, the Minister told us recently, when we discussed extending the mobility allowance, that the vast majority of those with locomotion difficulties acquired them over the age of 65 when of course they cannot qualify for the allowance. For a start, those people need to be subtracted from the Minister's figure of 100,000. That will then come to look rather less alarming.

The Minister of State in another place has attempted to argue that the case law is beginning to move in the right direction. I think those were his words. The Minister chooses his words with care. In the Lees case before this House, it is indicated that the word "beginning" had a very necessary part in that statement.

We have here, as we had in what is now Clause 11, an example where the case law is beginning to show a divergence. The Government there were quite eager to change the law to bring it up to the case law. It seems to me that there is an even stronger argument for doing that here.

We also have a suspicion constantly showing up in the appeals tribunals and other places that the claimant may be trying it on. That is a rather unrealistic way of looking at things. After all, there is not very much money at stake here. It is £24.50 per week. If noble Lords were offered the chance of having (shall we say?) osteoarthritis for £24.50 per week, I believe they would say that that was not the rate for the job. I do not think that the danger of false claimants being attracted by that sort of rate is nearly as great as the Government suppose. I very much hope that the Minister may yet relent, and that if he does not, the amendment will be agreed to.

3.45 p.m.

Baroness Phillips

My Lords, I should like to say that I have found this debate very distressing. Yesterday I went into the ladies' room, and there I saw a Peer's daughter who was blind. She was not deaf but she was blind. She sat waiting for somebody to come and collect her. It came home to me very forcefully that I am lucky enough to be able to move about, to hear, to speak and to see.

Two doors away from me there lives a young boy who is deaf and blind. I had the privilege of going to the school where that boy is employed. In no way can that boy ever go out on his own. Your Lordships will realise that the blind rely on their sense of touch. If you are deaf, you cannot hear the movements around you. Here we sit cold-bloodedly discussing the numbers involved and the cost. If this concerned armaments, there would be no question as to the cost. But we are talking about human beings, and people who have a contribution to make and who cannot do so in many cases because of their disability.

I shall put a blunt question to the Minister which I am quite sure he will not answer despite the skilful blandishments of the noble Lord on the Front Bench who said that on the one hand this and on the other hand that. But I ask myself how he is going to vote. I answer myself that he will vote against the amendment. I make an appeal to the Minister. If he does not like the amendment, and if the Government are going to do so much for this group of people, let him table an amendment at the next stage to cover these points. I appeal to him in the name of charity. We are not talking about a large number of people. Even if we were, surely the money spent on these people will be far more important than the money which may have to be given to a number of other citizens of the state. I appeal to the Minister.

Lord Renton

My Lords, in Committee a very strong case was made for this amendment; but the noble Lord, Lord Carter, withdrew it because there were various uncertainties felt on both sides of the Committee: there was uncertainty as to the numbers involved; there was uncertainty as to the cost to the Treasury; there was uncertainty as to when the review about which the Government told us would be reported—and we hoped that that would certainly resolve the uncertainty about the numbers involved. There was also uncertainty as to when there would be legislation to deal with this obviously hard situation.

The noble Lord, Lord Carter, wisely withdrew the amendment, as he said, in order to have some idea of the timetable. The timetable is at the crux of the matter. Regarding the timetable concerning the completion of the review, we have been told that that review is largely completed and should be completed very soon—this month, it seems.

Turning to the legislation timetable, I listened with much interest and some encouragement to my noble friend Lord Skelmersdale. He said that the Government intend, if I may put it bluntly, to come clean about this matter, but he did not say when. He did not tell us that this matter will definitely be dealt with in the Social Security Bill—and that is an annual affair—next year. However, I very much hope that when he replies to this debate he will tell us that it will be dealt with in next year's Social Security Bill.

The alternative is the one suggested, with much to commend it, by my noble friend Lord Trafford. He said that on Third Reading the Minister should be given power to deal with the matter by regulation. That would be a good solution; but of course that would not be as good as an undertaking to deal with it in the next Finance Bill because the regulations might not be made for several years. Therefore, I must say that when my noble friend replies I would prefer an undertaking here and now to the effect that the Government will deal with this matter effectively in the next Social Security Bill.

Implementation was another uncertainty at the previous stage. That must follow legislation, and when legislation comes we shall no doubt press for it to be implemented as soon as possible. I hope that it will not be long.

We are still in a state of uncertainty on relevant matters. We have been told by my noble friend—and I was astonished by the figure—that the amendment would possibly affect as many as 100,000 people. I confess that I cannot see how that can be. The amendment is perfectly clear and, I should have thought, limited in its effect. It refers to people who are both deaf and blind and I should have thought that the numbers of those are already known by the local authorities and health authorities throughout the country. The amendment also refers to those: suffering from severe mental handicap such that he"— or she, as in the case of my daughter— is either unable to walk or virtually unable to do so without physical control". More often than not, that means that the mentally handicapped person can walk only if held up, or can walk but cannot control the direction of movement.

Having worked, in an amateurish way, in the field of mental handicap for many years I should not have thought that the numbers within that category are so very numerous. Therefore, we are still in a state of uncertainty on that. I am sympathetic towards what the noble Lords, Lord Carter and Lord Allen of Abbeydale, have said and I hope 1hey will forgive me if I say that in my mind (if I am wrong I stand to be corrected) there is a further uncertainty; namely, whether many of the 3,000 deaf-blind and the 4,400 mentally handicapped, unable to walk, are already eligible for mobility allowance under the present arrangements. If a substantial proportion of them are eligible then, to put it bluntly, there is rather less need for this amendment.

Lord Allen of Abbeydale

My Lords, I intervene because perhaps I did not make it clear that I am speaking about the mentally handicapped. The numbers that we are now speaking about are people whose handicap has no identifiable physical cause and who would therefore not be eligible under the present rules.

Lord Renton

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, that clarifies the point and removes the uncertainty in that respect. I am sure that all noble Lords are also grateful.

I must say that, although much of the uncertainty has been removed, I find myself in a state of unbearable conflict of loyalties. I am a past-president of MENCAP. I want to do all I can to help the mentally handicapped. I am also an admirer and supporter of the efforts of the Government to control public expenditure—referred to by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter. Of course, it is in the interests of those who are the least fortunate in our community that public expenditure and, therefore, inflation, should be kept under control. Such people could be indirect sufferers if we allow public expenditure to run unchecked. I am unwilling to cause pressure which might upset the plans of my right honourable friend Mr. John Major, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Incidentally, perhaps I may introduce a personal note. He now represents my old constituency, and does so very well.

With this unbearable conflict of loyalties I shall listen to the rest of the debate and then if, unfortunately—and it would be unfortunate—we have a Division I shall decide how to vote. However, I shall be very much influenced by what my noble friend Lord Skelmersdale says as to exactly when the Government propose to cover in legislation the intentions of this amendment. If it is any later than next year I shall have to vote for the amendment.

Lord Dormand of Easington

My Lords, I have only one simple point to make. It has been covered in part by the noble Lord, Lord Renton, but I believe it to be so important that it should be repeated. In fact, I should like to go a little further than did the noble Lord.

I refer to the statistics. In this Chamber we are all accustomed to discrepancies in statistics. The noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, gave a figure of 8,000. The letter from the mobility allowance campaign—which perhaps most of us have received—states that approximately 8,000 people are affected and that that is probably the maximum. The Minister, however, gives the figure as 100,000. That discrepancy is too big for the normal style of debate in this House. Therefore, my first point is that I hope the Minister will tell the House exactly how that figure of 100,000 was arrived at.

Like the noble Lord, Lord Renton, I have an interest in that I am president of the Association of Physically and Mentally Handicapped. Like him, I also find it impossible to believe that the number of people who are deaf-blind or suffering from severe mental handicap can be anywhere near 100,000. Therefore, I hope that the Minister can give the House an explanation.

There is another implication. If the figure is 8,000, or thereabouts, my understanding is that the overall maximum cost at current benefit rates—presumably that is the right basis to take—is about £10 million; which is less than 2 per cent. of current mobility allowance expenditure. If the figures are 8,000 and £10 million some of us see no reason to hesitate. Some items appearing in the newspapers recently—I hope noble Lords opposite will agree with me in this aspect—concern the obscene pay increases that some chairmen of companies are getting. I do not want to make a major point, but if that is what is going on in some parts of society—and here we are referring to a mere £10 million for the most severely handicapped people—what kind of society are we living in?

Disabled people have waited long enough. All of us here, and some of us when in another place, have dealt with the disabled. The cost to them in terms of energy, sheer inconvenience, lost benefit and in lengthy appeals—appeals can extend into many months; a point that has already been mentioned—cannot be justified, and there should no longer be a delay. Therefore, I hope that noble Lords on all sides will support the amendment.

Lady Kinloss

My Lords, I support the amendment. I ask the Minister whether the deaf-blind can be included in a similar interim measure as those who are to receive the mobility allowance until the age of 80 instead of 75? I should have thought that being deaf-blind is a sufficient disability without the trauma, in most cases, of having to prove their inability to walk alone. They should receive the mobility allowance automatically if they wish to apply for it.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls

My Lords, there is one aspect that has not yet been emphasised in this short debate. I believe that it is an important aspect; but it will certainly not be popular compared with the speeches made by the noble Lords Lord Carter and Lord Allen.

If it were just a matter of numbers or cost, both of my hands would go up in support of the amendment. However, I do not believe that numbers or cost comes into the argument compared with the strength of the necessity to want to help people who need assistance. But what is our function? We are not distributors of social services, excellent though they are and much as we want to see them properly distributed in the right quarters.

We are also legislators. Our main function this afternoon is not to be kind and generous however much we may wish to be so, to people who need our generosity; it is to be good legislators. It is not good legislation if we put on the statute book words that carry doubt and uncertainty. I do not believe that that helps. Clause 9 of the Bill as it stands, and the subsection affected by this amendment, are very clear. Section 37A of the principal Act raises the age from 75 to 80 for the people who are entitled under the Act to have the allowance.

This amendment, though excellent in intent, confuses that clear-cut instruction. It will have to be administered in the future by someone. It will create a situation about which there may be considerable doubt. I was very impressed by the speech of my noble friend Lord Trafford. As a medical man it would be his job and that of people like him to decide whether "virtually unable" to do things was "virtually" or not. One is putting uncertainty into legislation which has to be clear and understandable if it is to work without disruption.

I am on the side of the noble Lord, Lord Allen. I want him to succeed in what he seeks to achieve, but I am convinced that to attach this amendment piecemeal to the Bill is not the right way of doing so. I have more sympathy with my noble friend Lord Renton. I believe a case has been made for doing something for the people affected by this amendment.

4 p.m.

Lord Allen of Abbeydale

My Lords, the noble Lord speaks as though this amendment has invented the phrase "virtually unable to walk". It is already in the principal Act.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls

My Lords, the noble Lord who, as a doctor, would have to decide the matter, recognises doubt. He said that it makes his job of doing the work that we as legislators want done, that much more dificult. When further investigation is made into the claims of these people, who is to say that the mobility allowance as set out in the Bill is the right way of helping them? It may well be that we shall wish to add to the numbers of the deaf and those virtually unable to walk.

That is why I agree with my noble friend Lord Renton. I wish my noble friend at the Disptach Box to give a clearer undertaking as to when the Government are prepared to take the next step to implement the general principle behind this amendment and the speeches that have been made on all sides of the House. I have had to fight many elections; I believe I recognise the importance of appearing to be popular. It is very easy to make compassionate speeches and appeals which are very well based, but we have to do our duty as legislators. We have to put on the statute book words that can be easily interpreted in a way that assists the people we wish to help.

Lord Carter

My Lords, the phrase has been on the statute book since the Social Security Act 1975 was enacted.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls

My Lords, it may well have been wrong then, because the phrase is creating doubts now. I am asking noble Lords, who are colleagues of mine in this House, to approach this matter not as politicians wishing to help their fellow man but in their capacity as legislators. The piecemeal attachment of this amendment to the Bill as it stands is not the cleanest and the most effective way in the long run of carrying out what we wish to do. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Allen, and those who support him have done their job very effectively. They have alerted the Government and their colleagues in this House and, I hope, in another place, to speed the time when these particular unfortunates can be more effectively dealt with than they will be merely by attaching this amendment to the Bill.

Baroness Seear

My Lords, I may have got it wrong, but I ask the Minister whether he can be right as regards the figure of 100,000 people who are deaf, blind and have difficulty in walking. That means one in every 560 of the population, if I have done the sums correctly. We cannot have one in every 560 people in this country who are blind, deaf and unable to walk. Where are they all?

Baroness Gardner of Parkes

My Lords, perhaps the noble Baroness has missed the point that we are speaking of people who are blind, deaf or unable to walk. I do not believe that all three disabilities have to apply to the same person. However, I agree with the noble Baroness that it would be an impossible situation otherwise in terms of numbers. I shall not vote for this amendment. That is not because I do not have sympathy with the cause. I believe it has been magnificently presented by the noble Lord, Lord Carter, and also in typically moderate tone by the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale. I shall not vote for the amendment because as I have listened to the debate, it has become quite clear that no one really knows the situation. The review that is currently being conducted will give the answers in a positive way as regards the number of people involved.

I remember opposing the mobility allowance when it was introduced. I was very upset at the time. As I remember it, it was at the time when the little three-wheeled vehicles were taken away from people. Because the vehicles were not safe, the mobility allowance was brought in. Those who lost their vehicles were pretty upset about it because they did not believe that the money compensated for the loss. The allowance is historically partly due to that. Obviously, the first people to get the mobility allowance had been drivers, but the people we are talking about today, owing to their degree of disability, can never have been drivers. Perhaps that is why they were never considered as regards this provision right from the beginning. I believe all Members of this House believe that there is a case made out for them.

I can tell your Lordships of other cases of people who should be considered. I have those dear to me who have tried for a mobility allowance but have been unable to get it because they have disabilities that come and go. There are all kinds of people who are disadvantaged from time to time. Certain conditions have periods of remission and there is nothing to cover those people. Therefore, I believe that special pleading for one section of people as regards this amendment is something that I shall not support: I wish to see a full review. Other points were made that are highly relevant. I am surprised that it is not possible to bring in some provision for these people under regulations. I am surprised to hear that the power does not exist.

I support the view expressed by my noble friend Lord Trafford. He said that if there was some enabling legislation brought in and if the survey, when it is completed, shows an appropriate case, it would mean that at that stage action could be taken before the next Bill. My noble friend Lord Renton made the point that he would rather have a firm promise for next year. I do not feel that one provision does away totally with the other. These regulations should vary from time to time. For example, AIDS victims can very rapidly deteriorate to the point where they cannot walk. In social security terms it would be very helpful to have more powers to introduce measures under regulations.

That is a valid point. It does not prevent anyone saying that they will bring in such provisions in a successive Bill. In passing, the point should be made that the London boroughs are very good at helping people to get around. There are schemes whereby people pay £1 and can have a taxi ride to the value of £10. There is also the Dial-a-Ride scheme that has only come into effect in recent years. These measures are all means of helping people. For as long as I can remember blind people have not only had free travel on London Transport; they have also had the right to be accompanied if they need assistance. I see people managing very well. They are probably not blind and deaf—I would not know if they were deaf—but they are certainly blind. They travel on the London Underground and manage very well. It gives them a sense of independence to do so. Those people are certainly not immobile. They may need financial help and assistance but they certainly do not lack mobility. That is another reason why I think the phrase "mobility allowance" is not appropriate. Although I have every sympathy with the case presented, I cannot support the amendment today.

Lord Wolfson

My Lords, I support the purposes of the amendment on humanitarian grounds. The cost would be minimal and could quite easily be saved in other directions. The question of priorities is always difficult, but I think it is clear that the unfortunate people covered by the amendment are a priority. The Minister, I am glad to note, has confirmed this.

I was very much influenced by the remarks of my noble friend Lord Renton who is so experienced in these matters. He mentioned a conflict of conscience which I also have. I was also influenced by the remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, who gave us a sad example. I was very much taken with the views of the noble Lord, Lord Trafford, who is also experienced in these matters. I take his point about people being virtually unable to move, which I think gives rise to confusion as regards the amendment.

I must declare an interest as a company director although I am not clear where the salaries of company directors come into the matter. Forty per cent. would go in taxes, which is probably enough to pay for the amendment. The proposal is modest and eminently right. My noble friend said that he cannot accept the amendment. I hope that when he comes to reply he will be able to put forward an amendment of his own or say that at Third Reading he will be able to introduce an amendment to bring about the purposes for which this amendment has been tabled. By that time the full facts should be available.

Lord Nugent of Guildford

My Lords, much as I admire my noble friend Lord Wolfson I am astonished that he, with his keen sense of commerce, should be willing to commit the Government to large sums of money—many millions of pounds—without knowing the facts, especially at a time when we are just about to have the results of the survey which will give us the facts. I have a great deal of personal sympathy for the amendment because I have a brother who is both blind and deaf. I know the difficulties of getting about; I understand the problems. But before the Government are asked to commit themselves I think that we should wait, especially when it is only a matter of weeks, or perhaps months at the outside, to find out the facts.

I should like my noble friend to give a specific undertaking, so far as he and my noble friend the Leader of the House can give an undertaking, that legislation will be brought forward in the next Session. I would be happy to support my noble friend if he could give us, so far as is possible, an undertaking in that direction.

Lord Wolfson

My Lords, with the leave of the House, perhaps I may reply briefly. I thank my noble friend for his kind remarks but I did suggest that when all the facts were available at the time of Third Reading that might be the time to consider the matter.

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, I assume from the remarks I have heard that I have the leave of the House to reply very briefly to this debate. My noble friend Lord Wolfson with his unerring skill has put his finger right on the facts. We all support the amendment. There is no doubt about it whatever. Every noble Lord supports the amendment. But we need to know the facts. Those facts will not be available by Third Reading. They will not be available, first, until the last OPCS report is published; and, secondly, until the data tapes to which I referred earlier have been properly studied not only by the Government—I get a distinct impression from all around the Chamber that noble Lords do not trust the Government in this matter—but have been independently checked. That must be right. That is why we cannot do it by Third Reading.

The noble Lord, Lord Allen, referred to remarks that I made which he said rather downgraded what I had said earlier in Committee when talking about the five years. The five years is made available by extending the age limit from 75 to 80. It was never meant as being any indication of how long it would take to implement changes arising from the OPCS findings. The point I was making in Committee is that even the most suspicious noble Lord—me at my worst, my Lords—will have no difficulty in believing that we will act well within this time. My noble friend Lady Faithfull wanted to know how many of the people would resort to institutional care. Neither the reports nor the data will answer that question directly for one very good reason. The survey covered specific disabilities. It is a matter of professional judgment. Various individual cases are after all involved. Whether or not they need residential care is a matter for doctors.

My noble friend Lord Trafford answered the question of the noble Lord, Lord Carter, about tribunals and appeals. The noble Lord, Lord Carter, believes that the mobility allowance is in a muddle. I go along with him to a great extent by saying that the mobility allowance is in a muddle. That is one of the reasons why I believe that this is not the time to make it into what my noble friend Lord Trafford would call—I am sorry to put words into his mouth—a greater muddle. The question of entitlement is a matter of medical opinion. It will never be possible, whatever the criteria, to achieve full consistency. However, I agree with my noble friend Lord Trafford; we must get our definition as right as possible, a point made also by my noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes. The appeal system allows people to have a further opinion on their possible entitlement and to produce evidence should they wish.

My noble friend eloquently and cogently identified the problem of definition which lies at the heart of the gulf between the estimate of the noble Lord, Lord Carter, and the Government's alternative estimate. Some of those who need to be accompanied in public will also satisfy the eligibility criteria for attendance allowance. However, I am afraid that I cannot give a number this afternoon. The idea of an enabling power is quite ingenious but, as I said a few moments ago, it may well be that we would decide that the best way to help these people is by means other than the mobility allowance. That is why I must also tell the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, that I cannot come back by Third Reading with another amendment. My noble friend Lord Harmar-Nicholls made this point particularly clearly.

The noble Lord, Lord Dormand of Easington, and the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, got to the crux of the matter of figures, which many of my noble friends find do not actually matter very much. However, I shall answer the point because it has been addressed several times. The OPCS data show that more than 100,000 people have difficulties affecting their behavioural and intellectual functioning to such an extent that it could reasonably be argued that they need to be accompanied in public even to the extent of physical contact and control. That is what we have taken as our figure. We are not saying with any certainty, a point that I hope I made earlier, that the figure will be 100,000—in other words, that 100,000 will definitely qualify—but the data show that there are some 100,000 people whose behaviour is sufficiently disturbed to raise serious questions about the need for them to be accompanied in public. At the end of the day, that is what the amendment is about. To set this in context, it was shown that there were 650,000 people between the ages of 16 and 59 who have behavioural disabilities at any level of severity.

The noble Lady, Lady Kinloss, suggested that deaf-blind people should be dealt with separately. The noble Lady's suggestion is of course persuasive. However, I must tell her that to me, at any rate, it is uncomfortably divisive. Deaf-blind people are far fewer in number and raise fewer problems as regards identification than the level of behavioural disturbance that requires physical control. But the Government will have to consider most carefully whether to help the one group more quickly than the other.

To sum up: we want to act; we wish to act; and we shall act. However, we need to give more thought as regards how we want to act. But act we assuredly will at the earliest possible date, on what my honourable friend the Minister for Social Security and the Disabled calls, "a very fast track". I believe that I have made it clear that the Government have the best will in the world in this area, but we have not seen what is in the last OPCS report, nor have the data tapes to which I referred been properly studied. Until that has been done, we cannot, even with the best will in the world, come to a conclusion in this matter.

Our basis for bringing forward our detailed proposals will be those findings. We wish to look at them properly; we wish to look at them with the help of your Lordships; and we wish to look at them with the help of all the various voluntary organisations to whom I pay credit in this area. They have done a tremendous amount for disabled people over many years. With their help, we can continue to help such people.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Renton

My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, I notice that he has studiously avoided answering the question which I put to him, which was: will the Government give an undertaking that, having gone through all this negotiating and consulting process, they will deal with the matter one way or another in a social security Bill in the next Session of Parliament? Because, speaking for myself, a lot depends on that.

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, I made it quite clear to my noble friend, and to the rest of the House, that we shall act in this matter. We shall act in the first social security Bill after this matter has been concluded.

Lord Rochester

My Lords, is there any reason why the Third Reading of this Bill should not be postponed until the overspill period, when the relevant facts will be available, as I understand it, and when suitable legislation could be brought forward during the current parliamentary Session?

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, most regretfully, when we reach a later part of this Bill—Schedule 5—your Lordships will find that this legislation must receive Royal Assent by 30th July of this year. Otherwise, we shall be in breach of our EC obligations. I am afraid that the noble Lord's suggestion, although a wise one, is not on this occasion an option.

Lord Carter

My Lords, I begin by thanking all noble Lords who have spoken in what has been an excellent debate. I should also apologise for an omission I made at the beginning of my speech, when I forgot to congratulate the Government—something which does not often happen from this side of the House—for the fact that mobility allowance has increased 10 times in terms of numbers since 1979 to a figure now not far short of 600,000 people. That is why I find it so surprising that the Government are not able to accept an amendment which affects fewer than 8,000 people. I shall return to the issue of the figures later.

Perhaps I may deal just briefly with some of the points which have been made, and in particular one made by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter. We already have an interim measure in this Bill to extend the mobility allowance from the age of 75 to the age of 80. Therefore the Government are prepared to use the Bill for an interim adjustment, and to use the case law to support such matters in many respects. I thought that that is what this Chamber was all about: to clarify confusing situations; to tighten legislation; and to ensure that Acts mean what they say. That is the purpose of this amendment; it is designed to tighten down legislation. I shall return to the question of the wording at a later stage.

The Minister said that he hoped that the OPCS survey would set out all the priorities. In fact, it will not do so. It will contain a wealth of statistics and information, but it is the Government who will have to choose the priorities.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord will allow me to intervene, as he referred to me in his remarks. His second version of what I said is the more accurate. What I said, or indeed what I intended to say, was that the OPCS would give us the whole picture and it would then be for the Government, and Parliament, to decide in the light of that action what changes, if any, to make.

Lord Carter

My Lords, that is absolutely true. If the OPCS survey was relevant to this amendment, then that would be quite correct.

The Minister said that the Government would act as promptly as circumstances would allow and that they are wanting and willing to act. But, why wait? We have had to wait for the response to the Disabled Persons Act 1986 and we are still in fact, as the noble Lord will know, waiting for that to be completed. Further, I imagine that after this amendment has been dealt with we shall hear the response to the Griffiths Report, which has taken long enough. I return to the fact that the OPCS survey is really not relevant to this matter.

I turn now to the business of the data tapes. This reminds me of the Perils of Pauline, in that at one bound the Government were free. We have been discussing this matter now since the early 1980s. The figures have never been in dispute up to this point; indeed, they were not in dispute until the Committee stage. But, all of a sudden, the data tapes have become available. However, we are told that the report is not yet published and that the data tapes cannot be properly studied. But, despite that fact, the Government suddenly produce a figure of 100,000 people, which as the noble Baroness said, defies common sense.

I ask your Lordships to think about the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Seear. For example, do we really think that there is one person in every 560 people who is so severely mentally handicapped that they need continuous physical control by another person? The organisations involved—namely, Sense and MENCAP—have done their research most carefully, Indeed, they have used the Government's figures; they have used the 1971 survey which states the incidence of mental handicap; and they have produced a figure of 7,600 people. I am prepared to believe them.

Many noble Lords remarked upon the phraseology of the amendment; that is, the words, unable to walk or virtually unable to do so". However, those are the words contained in the principal Act. It says: unable to walk or virtually unable". We have merely extended the wording to read: or is deaf and blind", or is unable to walk, or virtually unable to walk, as a result of the severe mental handicap. That phraseology has been on the statute book since 1975.

Lord Trafford

My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord for giving way. I am aware of the last point he made. However, my point was that that itself has given rise to some difficulty, even when dealing with much more clear-cut physical matters. I suggested to him that he might consider changing the wording in this amendment, or in a subsequent amendment, simply for the sake of clarification. Clarification is quite important in reducing the distress of appeal. That was the point of raising the matter.

Lord Carter

My Lords, if this amendment were accepted there would still be some borderline cases. Indeed, there always are in such matters. However, they would be very much reduced in number. That is the point. As I say, the phrase is already in the Act and in the regulations.

I gave the example of the lady in our village. I shall now give your Lordships another example. It is of a woman who suffers from ME. She is able to walk from here to the other side of Westminster Bridge; but she receives a mobility allowance, because she would be so ill the next day and would be in bed for a week were she to do so. She is able to receive a mobility allowance—and I know her—but the girl whom I described in our village who is so severely mentally handicapped is refused a mobility allowance. That just cannot be right.

I turn now to the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Renton. We know the numbers and the cost. The review was completed a long time ago; it is only the publication of the review which has taken a long time. Indeed, the review was completed certainly some months ago. Of course, it takes some time to publish such documents.

However, I repeat that Sense and MENCAP have done their sums most carefully yet, all of a sudden, at this late stage the Government produce a figure which undoubtedly includes all severely mentally handicapped people with behavioural problems. But, this amendment does not deal with that matter; it deals with those who are so severely mentally handicapped that they need continuous physical control by another person.

The noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, said that we have done our job in that we have alerted the Government. But the Government were alerted to this problem in the early 1980s. We have been trying to get this concession through since that time. The noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, said that mobility allowance altered from time to time and that the condition which gives rise to it recedes. That is absolutely true; but not in the case of the deaf-blind and the severely mentally handicapped, which is what the amendment is all about. There is no recession in their condition ever.

Perhaps I may conclude with some remarks about the Minister's speech. The last report has not been published. The data base cannot be complete. How does the Minister know that the figure is 100,000? Have the civil servants made a big hearted guess? The figure does not stand up. The Minister says that the mobility allowance is in a muddle. It is, and the amendment is intended to deal with it. The excuse is always given that it is never the time. We asked the Government in 1981. We saw the Minister in 1985. We saw the Minister in 1987. We saw the Minister in 1989. We are now told that we must wait; we must wait for the OPCS survey; we must wait for consultations; and, "We will give it a fast track".

The Minister says that over 100,000 people have behavioural problems. I listened carefully to the Minister's words. In support of his case, he described a large group of people. We chose the wording of the amendment to restrict its purpose. The wording is tight. The numbers are known. The only way to solve the problem is to ask for the opinion of the House.

4.31 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 124; Not-Contents, 114.

Airedale, L. Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L. [Teller.]
Carter, L.
Alport, L. Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Ampthill, L. Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Ardwick, L. Craigavon, V.
Auckland, L. Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Darcy (de Knayth), B.
Blackstone, B. David, B.
Blyth, L. Davies of Penrhys, L.
Bonham-Carter, L. Dean of Beswick, L.
Bottomley, L. Dormand of Easington, L.
Briginshaw, L. Dunrossil, V.
Broadbridge, L. Ellenborough, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Burton of Coventry, B. Elwyn-Jones, L.
Ennals, L. Mottistone, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Mountevans, L.
Ezra, L. Mulley, L.
Faithfull, B. Murray of Epping Forest, L
Falkender, B. Nicol, B.
Falkland, V. Northfield, L.
Gainford, L. Ogmore, L.
Gainsborough, E. O'Hagan, L.
Gallacher, L. O'Neill of the Maine, L.
Galpern, L. Perry of Walton, L.
Gladwyn, L. Peston, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Phillips, B.
Greenway, L. Pitt of Harnpstead, L.
Gregson, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Grimond, L.
Haig, E. Prys-Davies, L.
Halsbury, E. Reilly, L.
Hampton, L. Renton, L.
Hanworth, V. Rippon of Hexham, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Rochester, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Russell, E.
Hayter, L. Sainsbury, L.
Henderson of Brompton, L. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Hirshfield, L. Seear, B.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Seebohm, L.
Hunter of Newington, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
Hylton, L. Serota, B.
Hylton-Foster, B. Shackleton, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. Shannon, E.
Jeger, B. Shaughnessy, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L. Shepherd, L
John-Mackie, L. Simon, V.
Kennet, L. Somerset, D.
Kilbracken, L. Stallard, L.
Kinloss, Ly. Stedman, B.
Lawrence, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Strabolgi, L.
Swann, L.
Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Lloyd George of Dwyfor, E. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Lockwood, B. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Longford, E. Tordoff, L.
Macaulay of Bragar, L. Turner of Camden, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. Underhill, L.
McNair, L. Walston, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Milverton, L, Winstanley, L.
Morris, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Abinger, L. Eden of Winton, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Effingham, E.
Alexander of Weedon, L. Elles, B.
Allerton, L. Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Annaly, L. Erne, E.
Arran, E. Erroll of Hale, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Ferrers, E.
Beloff, L. Fortescue, E.
Belstead, L. Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Bessborough, E. Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Blatch, B. Gardner of Parkes, B.
Boardman, L. Goold, L.
Borthwick, L. Gray of Contin, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bruce-Gardyne, L. Hardinge of Penshurst, L.
Butterworth, L. Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Caithness, E. Havers, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Henley, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Hesketh, L.
Carnock, L. Hives, L.
Carr of Hadley, L. Holderness, L.
Cockfield, L. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Colnbrook, L. Hooper, B.
Colwyn, L. Ingrow, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Johnston of Rockport, L.
Craigton, L. Joseph, L.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Kimball, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Lauderdale, E.
Dilhorne, V. Long, V.
Dundee, E. Lothian, M.
Lyell, L. Quinton, L.
McAlpine of Moffat, L. Rankeillour, L.
McFadzean, L. Rees, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Macleod of Borve, B. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Mansfield, E. Savile, L.
Margadale, L. Selborne, E.
Marley, L. Sharpies, B.
Marshall of Leeds, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Merrivale, L. Stockton, E.
Middleton, L. Strange, B.
Monk Bretton, L. Strathcarron, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L. Strathclyde, L.
Mountgarret, V. Sudeley, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Suffield, L.
Munster, E. Terrington, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Nelson, E. Thomas of Swynnerton, L
Nelson of Stafford, L. Trafford, L.
Norrie, L. Tranmire, L.
Nugent of Guildford, L. Trumpington, B.
Orkney, E. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Orr-Ewing, L. Wyatt of Weeford, L.
Oxfuird, V. Wynford, L.
Pender, L. Young, B.
Prior, L. Young of Graffham, L.
Pym, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, this might be a convenient moment to take the Statement. Therefore we will resume consideration on Report later.