§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will now take steps to remove the six-month waiting period for qualification for attendance allowance payments;
(2) whether he is satisifed that the present six-month qualifying period for attendance allowance does not add to public expenditure by virtue of requiring the hospitalisation of persons who otherwise, with domestic assistance, might have been able to remain in their homes through the attendance allowance scheme.
§ Mr. Rossi
As I explained to the hon. Member on 17 January—[Vol 35, c.62]—the purpose of the allowance is to assist severly disabled people with long-term attendance needs. In addition the abolition of the six months qualifying period would increase the cost of the benefit by some £100 million a year and I could give this no priority at all.