§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for 1981 and to the latest available date the total expenditure by his Department on measures specifically related to the International Year of Disabled People; what financial provision has been made for further measures to assist disabled people; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. David Howell
On the general question of measures related to IYDP, I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given today by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
In addition, my Department is engaged in a continuing programme of work to open up opportunities for disabled people to travel. These include:
- (i) the publication of 1 million copies of a national guide to transport for disabled people "Door to Door";
- (ii) a grant to Community Transport to set up and run a national advisory unit on the operation of minibuses and transport services for disabled people. The grant is for a three-year period, starting this year, at 70 per cent. of the total costs of the unit, not exceeding £65,000 in the first year;
- (iii) the monitoring of two important transport developments for disabled people: the Carbodies taxi, which will replace the existing "London" cab with a vehicle accessible to wheelchairs and the Reading Readibus dial-a-ride service for disabled people;
- (iv) the production of an exhibition, "A Way from Home", on problems and developments in transport for disabled people and a film on the development of dial-a-ride services for disabled people. Both the exhibition and film are available on free loan to interested groups;
- (v) a number of research projects including studies of the problems of access to cars for disabled people and the use of electronic technology to help blind and partially sighted pedestrians; and
- (vi) a programme of conferences and seminars to discuss the transport problems of disabled people and formulate ideas overcoming them. My Department has organised, or helped to run, seven events in 1982.
My Department will continue to give high priority to these and other projects concerned with the mobility of disabled people.