Other representations received
by the Department
3. The Department reports that it received representations
from the Association of Parents of Vaccine Damaged Children, Lord
Ashley of Stoke and Ian Stewart MP during the period for Parliamentary
representations concerned those who failed to claim within the
six-year period allowed for by the Act and who will not be enabled
to claim under the revised legislation following passage of this
Order. Similar representations were made to us during our consideration
of the proposal for this Order.
4. Noting that claims from cases vaccinated
back to 1948 were accepted within 6 years of the scheme's introduction,
the Department argued in response that overlaying new provisions
on those original provisions would go far beyond putting past
and future claimants in an equal position. Achieving such an equal
position was the intention behind the transitional claim provisions,
it states; removing the "age 21 at the time of the original
claim or advice" qualification from transitional claimants
would place that group in an advantageous position over future
claimants. The Department does not therefore believe that the
transitional claims provisions should be extended to cover all
cases where the original claim was outside the 6 year time limit,
regardless of the then age of the vaccinated person.
5. We ourselves did not examine the merits of
the arguments put forward by the Association of Parents of Vaccine
Damaged Children, since they concerned matters of policy unconnected
with the regulatory reform criteria. Whilst we appreciated, and
to some degree sympathised with, consultees' desire for the Government
to go further in relaxing the conditions for payment under the
Act, our role under the Standing Order was confined to ensuring
that the Government had responded appropriately to the points
made. We were satisfied that it had done so.
6. Nevertheless, bearing in mind that it was
only proper that honourable Members should have the opportunity
to consider matters such as these should they wish to do so, we
drew attention to the procedures available for debate on regulatory
reform proposals and draft orders. Those procedures included the
provision in Standing Orders for this Committee to invite Members
of the House who are not Members of the Committee to attend meetings
at which witnesses are being examined; and for such Members, at
the discretion of the Chairman, to ask questions of those witnesses.
We reported that should any Member, now or in the future, wish
to make representations to us that the procedure should be used
in any particular case, we would of course consider those representations,
and if appropriate make arrangements for a hearing before the
Committee. One such representation was made to us in connection
with this draft Order; but it was later withdrawn.
7. The Department notes that it intends to take
a number of steps to publicise the new arrangements. We welcome
those steps, and we hope that as many as possible of those eligible
will take the opportunity to make claims under the revised legislation.
Report under Standing Order No.
8. We recommend unanimously that the draft
Order be approved.
1 Previously the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform
Copies are available to Members from the Vote Office and to members
of the public from the Department for Work and Pensions. It is
also available on the Cabinet Office website http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/act/
Ninth Report from the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee,
Session 2001-02 (HC 708). Back
ibid, paras 15, 41, 42. Back
Explanatory statement, para 17. Back
Ninth Report, op cit, para 26. Back
ibid, para 27. Back
Standing Order No. 141(13); see Ninth Report, op cit, para