§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she is satisfied with the information available to the public concerning the mobility allowance scheme, and in particular relative to the situation of persons over 65 years of age who would have qualified under the old scheme for assistance towards their cost of personal transport.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
With an eventual 100,000 or so people to find and help for the first time, there are no grounds for complacency about our publicity arrangements and I welcome any opportunity to make information about the new mobility allowance scheme more widely available. Apart from widespread introductory Press publicity, a leaflet about the allowance (NI 211) has been available, since September last, at all local offices of the Department as well as at a number of other places.
I have twice sought the help of hon. and right hon. Members in publicising the arrangements in their constituencies, most recently to make sure that the current intake of claims is maintained and that eligible disabled people aged 15–50 claim now and do not lose money through delaying their claims. I am most grateful for the help that I have received from parliamentary colleagues in publicising the arrangements for the new allowance. The fact that we have not, regretfully, been able to extend mobility allowance to people over pension age is not only made clear in the leaflet, but has been stated on numerous occasions since the original announcement of the scheme in September 1974. Those over pension age can, of course, retain vehicle service benefits they already have; and there is no age limit to claims for exemption from vehicle excise duty by disabled car owners who need to be driven and cared for by a constant attendant.