§ Mr. Churchill
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimates have been made of the reduction in numbers of people taking sight tests which will arise from the levying of charges.
[holding answer 25 March 1988]: It would not be practicable to attempt any such estimate, particularly in the absence of information about possible charges for sight tests conducted privately under the proposed arrangements. However, on the basis of experience with the more competitive market already introduced for spectacles, we would expect charges to be modest; and since some 30 per cent. of the population, including the least well-off, will continue to be entitled to a free NHS sight test, we see no reason to expect a significant reduction in demand.