§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the community charge in relation to blind people.
§ Mr. Chope
Blind people on low incomes will be able to claim community charge benefit, which can provide rebates of up to 80 per cent. of the charge. Registered blind people can qualify for community charge benefit at higher levels of income than other claimants because their applicable amount contains a disability premium. Blind people in receipt of income support have had their benefit increased to reflect the fact that they have to pay at least 20 per cent. of the charge. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has produced information on the community charge in Braille, based on a leaflet published by the Department of the Environment; and the Department is pursuing with the RNIB the possibility of help with the production of further material. Registered blind people may qualify for extra help under the928W transitional relief scheme if they have to pay a community charge but did not formerly pay rates or rent (or were not the partner of anyone who did).