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Column 1130costs which accrue, for example, to the health service and to social services when they have to provide services to overcome a lack of mobility.
One example is the cost of a doctor leaving his or her surgery to attend a patient at home because that patient has no means of independent transport. That is costly. The economics of the issue is not straightforward or easy to tackle, but I am pleased to say that the Department of Transport will be setting up a joint working group with other relevant Departments to explore some of the issues and the implications that it has for long-term funding.
Helping people become more mobile spans the policy interests of a number of Government Departments and carries benefit not only for disabled people themselves, but for society as a whole. Mobility is essential if disabled people are to realise their potential and contribute to the social and economic fabric of the communities in which they live and work.
The right hon. Gentleman is impatient for change, and he is right to be. No change comes from passive waiting. I can tell him that I am an impatient Minister. I, too, want change for the better for people with disabilities, and I want it to have happened yesterday. I know, as he knows, that we can only achieve so much at a time and that we can only afford so much at a time. Many priorities for action and spending compete with each other. Nevertheless, step by step, we are making progress. We must not raise hopes that cannot be fulfilled, but we can and we do set our sights on the horizon as we strive together to enable people with disabilities to live life to the fullest possible extent and to be full members of our society. Question put and agreed to.
Adjourned accordingly at Three o'clock.
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