§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to complete the phasing in of mobility allowance.
§ Mr. Prentice
I am pleased to be able to tell my hon. Friend that we intend to complete the phasing in of the mobility allowance with just one further phase this autumn, so that everybody over five and under 65 at the payment date will then be included in the scheme. I have taken this step because I consider it essential to remove any doubts or uncertainties which may be causing anxiety 601W amongst disabled people approaching the age of 65.
I shall lay the necessary commencement order before the House shortly and it will cover all those men and women born on or after 29 November 1914 who are not in the scheme at present. They will be able to claim the allowance from 5 September 1979, with payment from 28 November 1979.
A period has been allowed before claims are accepted to enable the mobility allowance unit at Blackpool to complete the handling of some 18,000 claims now being processed, to prepare for the up-rating of the allowance in November and to prepare for the large number of claims expected.
I should emphasise that having one last phase instead of two will double the number of claims received and some claims will not be processed in time for payment at the appointed date. I ask people to be patient; arrears will be paid back to 28 November, and our action does mean that 63 and 64 year-olds are brought into the scheme earlier than would otherwise have been possible.