HC Deb 15 November 1977 vol 939 cc125-31W
Mr. Anthony Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out in the Official Report a list of the types and scale of financial assistance available to registered disabled persons over pensionable age.

Mr. Alfred Morris

The list below shows the main sorts of financial assistance that may be of help to people over pensionable age:

  • Retirement pension* £17.50.
  • Invalidity Benefit* £17.50.
  • Sickness Benefit* £17.50.
  • Non-Contributory invalidity pension* £10.50.
  • Supplementary benefit* †£17:90.
  • Rate rebate††
  • Rent rebate††
  • Rent Allowance††
  • *Basic weekly rate for a single person. Additions may be payable for dependants.
  • †An addition for housing costs, and additions for exceptional circumstances may also be payable.
  • ††The needs allowance used in the calculations is £2.60 a week higher for a registered disabled person than for other people.

Elderly or disabled people may also be eligible for a variety of other assistance, information about which is contained in the booklets "Family Benefits and Pensions" and "Help for Handicapped People", which are available in the Library. The latter publication refers to a wide range of personal social services available under Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. These include telephones, adaptations to homes and aids to daily living.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the headings of all new help for disabled people, including decisions and actions, taken by all Government Departments since the appointment of the first Minister for the Disabled in March 1974.

Mr. Alfred Morris

The following is a list of the major decisions and actions taken by the present Government since March 1974 to improve the welfare and status of disabled people. I have arranged for copies of the list, together with detailed notes on some of the individual items, to be placed in the Library. The list shows that, despite the economic difficulties we have faced, the Government have accorded high priority to helping disabled people. There is still much to do, and all Government Departments concerned have consideration of further help under constant review.

Invalid care allowance (ICA) for men and single women who look after severely disabled relatives.

Non-contributory invalidity pension (NCIP) for men and single women.

Extension of non-contributory invalidity pension to married women incapable of normal household work (HNCIP) (from November 1977).

Mobility allowances for an estimated 100,000 new beneficiaries, including severly disabled children. Third increase in the amount of mobility allowance in next financial year.

Benefit upratings will have added from November 1977 £2 billion extra to benefits received by chronically sick and disabled people.

Legislation enacted for earnings-related invalidity pension, an easing of the age conditions for invalidity allowance and "home responsibility protection" for a person who has to stay at home to look after a relative needing care.

New child benefit scheme—extra help for disabled children.

Zero rating of VAT on aids and appliances for the disabled and also on medical equipment for donation to a hospital for the purpose of treatment or research.

First-ever personal allowances for long-stay patients in mental hospitals.

£7.3 million paid to Rowntree Trust Family Fund for disabled children.

Extension of terms of reference of Rowntree Trust Family Fund to include all severely disabled children.

Introduction of new behind-the-ear hearing aid for an estimated one million hearing-impaired people.

Special hearing aids for children and young people.

Extension of war pensioners' visiting scheme.

Coal industry pneumoconiosis compensation scheme.

Right of appeal on diagnosis of pneumoconiosis introduced.

Easing of conditions for entitlement to industrial death benefit in certain cases of death from pulmonary disease.

Industrial disablement benefit for victims by byssinosis (now extended to new categories).

Viral hepatitis prescribed as an industrial disease.

Vinyl chloride monomer induced diseases prescribed as industrial diseases.

Industrial injury provisions for occupational deafness introduced and currently under review.

Raising of therapeutic earnings limit for recipients of invalidity pension, non-contributory invalidity pension and unemployability supplement.

Recipients of ICA, NCIP, HNCIP, attendance allowance, invalidity pension, war pension, war widow's pension to receive the £10 Christmas bonus 1977.

Study of the problems faced by disabled people in relation to membership of occupational pension schemes.

Financial support for thalidomide children.

Compensation for vaccine-damaged children.

Wide-ranging Seminar on Disablement held at Sunningdale.

UK co-sponsors UN Declaration on the Rights of Handicapped People.

Better co-ordination between Government Departments.

Much increased financial support for voluntary bodies.

Adoption of handicapped children—grants to voluntary organisations.

First-ever grants to voluntary organisations for the hearing-impaired.

National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped set up together with Development Team.

Programme Planning Group on Mental Disorder.

Jay Committee on Nursing and Care of the Mentally Handicaped.

The provision of special rehabilitation facilities at the Birmingham Head Injuries Centre for people who have suffered severe head injuries (in co-operation with area health authorities).

Integrated education of handicapped pupils given new impetus by the passing of Section 10 of Education Act 1976.

Advisory Committee on Hearing Impairment.

Institute of Hearing Research established.

Development of audiology services.

Grant to British Deaf Association.

Audiological medicine—a new speciality.

Guidance for hearing aid users.

Hospital ear nose and throat services—design guide.

Co-ordination with DES on audiological equipment in schools.

DHSS-Post Office Liaison Committee on aids for the physically and sensory handicapped.

Increase in blind person's tax allowance.

Appointment of additional blind persons' training officers.

New Government circular to local authorities about admission of guide dogs to certain premises.

New NHS optical arrangements.

Extension of "orange badge" parking schemes to include the blind.

Further parking concessions for all "orange badge" holders.

Public ity and encouragement for improved facilities for disabled drivers at motorway service areas (including signing them on motorways).

Disabled people now automatically entitled to priority in taking driving tests.

Two distinctive traffic signs prescribed and supplementary signs, exempting disabled people from vehicle traffic prohibitions, may now be used.

Petrol allowance restored (and doubled) for drivers of Government-supplied invalid vehicles.

Easement of car hire-purchase restrictions for certain disabled people.

Public transport—special arrangements for disabled travellers by British Rail, and easier access into new rolling stock.

London Transport to review travelling problems faced by disabled. New bus design to be tested.

Government help for Private Member's Bill to exempt mini buses used by certain voluntary organisations from public service vehicle licensing scheme.

Research Liaison Group—to look at research needs in the disablement field.

Strong new guidance on housing needs.

Marked increase in special housing provision for the disabled.

Consultative paper on adaptations to housing.

Incorporation into building regulations of standards for ramps for wheelchair users and others.

Study of stairlifts and personal passenger vertical lifts for the disabled.

Study of personal hygiene and eating aids at Loughborough.

Development of a chemical closet for home use (production started in February, 1977).

Advisory Group on Medical and Scientific Equipment and Aids and Equipment for the Physically Disabled.

DHSS assumes financial responsibility for "Equipment for the Disabled" from the National Fund for Research into Crippling Diseases.

Funding of special units at selected hospitals to work specifically on aids and equipment.

New electronic aids for disabled people available on prescription.

Assessment of aids and equipment for physically handicapped people at rehabilitation demonstration centres.

Development of a swivel walking device for spina bifida patients.

Catalogue of and guide to environmental control equipment for the severely disabled.

DHSS assumes financial responsibility for research team supporting work of Rowntree Trust Family Fund.

Decisions on the future of the employment quota scheme, sheltered employment for disabled people and related matters.

Publication by Manpower Services Commission of "Positive Policies"—an employers' guide to employing disabled people.

Increase in the number of senior disablement resettlement officers in the Employment Service Agency.

Major developments and an increased budget in the Employment Service Agency for work in hospitals.

Arrangements made by Manpower Services Commission in co-operation with DHSS for hospital patients to spend part of each week at an employment rehabilitation centre. Three further young persons' work preparation classes started at employment rehabilitation centres (the number of ERCs running now increased to 14).

Increase in allowances paid to people going on employment rehabilitation courses.

Establishment of an employment rehabilitation research centre and the commencement of its research programme.

Remedial professions—improved status.

Building work started on new large employment rehabilitation centre at Preston and planning in progress for rebuilding of the pioneer ERC at Egham.

Residential Training Colleges Working Group set up to discuss, among other things, changes in courses of vocational training at RTC's for the disabled.

Introduction of literacy/numeracy training at one RTC.

More involvement by Training Services Agency in the provision of capital sums for the development of residential training for disabled people by voluntary organisations.

Opening in June 1975 of a national training centre for newly appointed disablement resettlement officers and an expansion in the training programme to 34 weeks for people coming into the Employment Service Agency from outside.

Increased financial resources for development of the Employment Service Agency's "Special Aids to Employment Scheme".

Scheme of grants to employers towards the cost of adaptations to premises or equipment made to enable disabled individuals to obtain, or retain, employment.

Government help for Private Member's Bill extending the access provisions of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to places of employment.

Major expansion in the range of publicity material available to asssit disabled people to obtain and keep employment, particularly the launch of the Employment Service Agency's new rehabilitation and resettlement magazine "Outlook".

Publication in the DE Gazette of figures showing quota performance of public sector employers—nationalised industries, local authorities, area health authorities and Government Departments.

Issue by the Civil Service Department of a code of practice on employment of disabled people in Government Departments.

Announcement in the Budget speech 29th March 1977 of proposal to introduce a job introduction scheme for disabled people who have been out of work for some time.

Continuing progress by Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work in formulating training arrangements in relation to disabled people.

Silver Jubilee Committee on Improving Access for Disabled People.

Awards for best public buildings for disabled people.

Pressure on public and other bodies to improve access and services for disabled people, e.g. special low counters for wheelchair users.

Awards for good housing design for disabled people.

Improvement of facilities for disabled people in the National Theatre.

Home Office Circular on Access to Polling Stations.

DOE circulars to new town development corporations requesting greater provision within their tenancy allocation policies for housing elderly and disadvantaged families, including the physically and mentally handicapped.

Government's White Paper on Sport and Recreation of 1975: its emphasis on the needs of the disabled.

Membership of Warnock Committee on education of handicapped children and young people appointed and expected to report in 1978.

Introduction of discretionary allowance of up to £140 to disabled students whose disability leads to additional expenses in connection with their studies.

Government grant for National Bureau for Handicapped Students.

Improved provision for the needs of disabled people in educational establishments.

Survey of further education provision for young adults with handicaps: report expected later this year.

Guidance on the discovery of children requiring special education and the assessment of their needs.

Meeting on classification and assessment of impairment and handicap held in London in October 1976.

Grant to assist new organisation created by the merger of the British Council for Rehabilitation of the Disabled and the Central Council for the Disabled.

Closer liaison with voluntary bodies.

Issue of new edition of "Help for Handicapped People".

PSSC new group on "People with Handicaps".