HC Deb 23 July 1973 vol 860 cc294-5W
Mr. David Steel

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the number of claims for the attendance allowance and the numbers of awards that have so far been made.

Mr. Dean

Since the scheme started in 1971 there have been 247,000 claims for attendance allowance and 149,000 awards.

Dr. Vaugnan

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how the numbers of awards made for higher rate attendance allowance and for a lower rate for people of working age and for children compare with his original expectation; and how soon, in the light of these figures, he can introduce a lower rate for the elderly.

Sir K. Joseph

The original estimates of the number of awards, and the actual position at 30th June 1973 is as follows:

Original estimate Total awards current at 30th June
Children 10,000 21,000
Working age 7,000 28,000
Elderly 33,000 45,000
50,000 94,000
Original estimate Total awards current at 30th June
Working age 50,000 8,000
Children 50,000 *
* The advertising for claims, for payment from 1st October, only commenced on 25th June, but first indications are that the response will not be as high as originally anticipated.

Our original expectation of 50,000 higher rate awards has therefore been greatly exceeded. However, because of the current low level of new claims since the introduction of the lower rate from those of working age and children the Government are bringing forward the pay date for the lower rate for all those over 65, to 3rd December 1973. The dates previously planned were June 1974 for the 65–75 age group and December 1974 for the over 75s, so that successful claimants will now have the allowance paid to them for an extra six or 12 months respectively. With the take-on of these groups the extension of entitlement to the lower-rate allowance will be complete. I will shortly be laying the commencement orders so that claims can be taken at an early date for payment from 3rd December. This will, of course, be followed by appropriate publicity to acquaint potential claimants of their rights.