HC Deb 12 October 1976 vol 917 cc109-10W
Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if additional money will be made available to the London borough of Brent to meet additional transport costs which will fall upon the social services estimates when disabled persons at present attending the Brent Work Centre and various classes and clubs no longer have their own tricycles.

Mr. Alfred Morris

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend on 23rd July.—[Vol. 915, c. 2229–42.]

As my right hon. Friend then made clear, we expect disabled people who have invalid tricycles issued under the old scheme to be able to keep them for at least five years. He also made it clear that alternative mobility help would he made available to anyone whose tricycle would not ultimately be replaced. Other disabled people, including those who did not want or would not use a tricycle, through the mobility allowance, would be receiving outdoor mobility help for the first time. It is not intended to make special additional allocations of money available to local social services authorities; but, as I know my hon. Friend appreciates, the overall effect of our policy is to increase substantially the amount of money spent on outdoor mobility help and the number of people helped.

Sir Bernard Braine

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate has been made of the number of disabled persons who at the moment use an invalid tricycle to get to work but may be unable to remain in employment as a result of the withdrawal of the tricycle and payment of invalidity allowances.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Far from any sudden withdrawal from disabled people of tricycles we expect to be able to keep the tricycle service in being for them for at least five years. Moreover, a disabled person who was given a tricycle for employment purposes will no longer risk losing all mobility help if he loses his job. This is an important step forward and will help many disabled people in seeking further employment. Under new legislation which the Government will introduce, it will be open to "old scheme" tricycle holders to switch to the mobility allowance.

The allowance is already bringing mobility help to some 25,000 new beneficiaries; and I am sure it is helping many of them to obtain employment or to continue in their present jobs. Apart from this, the travel to work scheme run by the Employment Service Agency may provide help to registered disabled people, whether holders of mobility allowance or not, who are too disabled to use public transport and who incur substantial additional costs in travel to work. It is not yet possible to estimate the number of existing tricycle holders who will be affected in any particular way in five years' time.

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