HC Deb 26 October 1976 vol 918 cc120-1W
46. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has for the introduction of a weekly benefit for severely handicapped children; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Attendance allowance is now being paid for 40,000 severely handicapped children. We are also in process of extending the new mobility allowance, which already covers older children, to handicapped children aged between 11 and 14. We estimate, that when the 5–10 year-olds are included a total of up to 30,000 handicapped children will benefit from this allowance. Children receiving the higher rate of attendance allowance, together with mobility allowance, will be receiving £17.20 a week from November. A few years ago, as my hon. Friend is aware, they would have had no specific cash help at all.

The Government have already provided £8.5 million, with a promise of a further £4 million, to the Family Fund to help relieve stress in families with a handicapped child. We are now funding a research unit at York University to consider the support, both cash and services, provided to such families. I am unable to make any further announcement about cash benefits at the present time.