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Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, does that mean that the Minister accepts in principle the argument that it is right for many disabled people (who are excluded on the face of the Bill) to receive direct payments but that she is asking local authorities, which she is trying to protect from bureaucracy, to have the additional bureaucracy of not only running their own schemes but funding extra clients through third-party schemes because they cannot include them in their own scheme? Is that a wise way of helping local authorities by making them fund direct payments through two systems simultaneously?

Baroness Cumberlege: My Lords, the purpose of the Bill is not necessarily to legalise existing ultra vires arrangements. That is not right. The purpose of the Bill is to lay down a practical framework for the future. It is for local authorities to ensure that their schemes operate within the law, but the Bill will not make existing schemes illegal. Those authorities which already operate such schemes can continue to do so.

I understand the desire of the noble Lords, Lord Rix and Lord Addington, to see direct payments being made available to everyone who wants to receive them and is able to manage them. Amendment No. 12 shows that those noble Lords do not want to see local authorities deciding not to offer someone direct payments on the basis of the nature or extent of their disability. In determining whether to offer someone direct payments, local authorities must take account of all relevant considerations. That would automatically include a person's wishes and ability to benefit from a direct payment. In addition, the Bill already explicitly requires that a direct payment can only be made with a person's consent. We must take great care when imposing restrictions of the kind set out in Amendment No. 12 on the way in which local authorities make those determinations. If the nature or extent of someone's disability is not relevant--

Lord Rix: My Lords, I am sorry to have to interrupt the noble Baroness and I thank her for allowing me to do so. But does that mean that local authorities can make such payments to people with learning disabilities under the Bill when it becomes an Act?

Baroness Cumberlege: My Lords, that depends on the responses that we receive to the consultation document. It would be very wrong of the Government to put out a document for consultation and to decide, prior to receiving responses, on the action that they wish to take. Sadly, the noble Lord will have to be patient a little longer.

If the nature or extent of someone's disability is not relevant to the authority's judgment of whether direct payments are appropriate for them, the authority could not take that into account in any case. But if those matters are relevant at all, authorities should be able to take them into account and it would be wrong to prevent them from doing so by this legislation. It is not a matter of

12 Feb 1996 : Column 406

discrimination but of common sense. Along with my noble friends Lord Hayhoe, Lord Campbell of Croy, Lady Faithfull and Lady Seccombe, I urge your Lordships to reject the amendment.

Lord Rix: My Lords, I am very grateful to those of your Lordships who have supported the amendments and perhaps not quite so grateful to those who have not. Perhaps I may respond first to the noble Baroness, Lady Faithfull. As I said in my introductory speech, nobody is suggesting that people with learning disabilities do not receive support and advice, where appropriate, in pursuing the question of direct payments. The noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, said that he had wondered whether the provisions breach the Disability Discrimination Act which we passed only last November. He has been assured that that is not so, yet the Minister said that the Government will be limiting eligibility--I should have thought that that was discrimination; that people could be included who had physical as well as learning disabilities--I should have thought that that too was excluding people with learning disabilities alone; and that local authorities might well be able to make such payments in spite of the Bill going through in its current form--that seems slightly inexplicable.

In Committee I complained that the consultation period could extend beyond this Report stage and I asked whether the business managers could arrange for Report stage to take place after the consultation period; otherwise all of us are speaking in a vacuum. However, I received a very gentle rebuke from the Minister who said:

    "That is a question for the business managers. I certainly would not dream of giving such an undertaking".--[Official Report, 15/1/96; col. 380.]
I am afraid that we have seen the result today. There is a fairly even split on both sides of the House as to whether people with learning disabilities should be included in the provisions right at the beginning. There is no compulsion on local authorities to make direct payments, but that group of people must be included. I am speaking on behalf of a constituency of 1.2 million people with learning disabilities. That is a lot of people. I am not suggesting for one moment that they would all be in receipt of direct payments, but it is a very large constituency. Therefore, in view of my constituency and of those who have supported me, I have no option but to seek the opinion of the House.

3.49 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 107; Not-Contents, 113.

Division No. 1


Acton, L.
Addington, L. [Teller.] Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Bancroft, L.
Barnett, L.
Birk, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bristol, Bp.
Broadbridge, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Chapple, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B.
David, B.
Desai, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Drogheda, E.
Dubs, L.
Eames, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B.
Fitt, L.
Gallacher, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glenamara, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grey, E.
Halsbury, E.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Henderson of Brompton, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kintore, E.
Lawrence, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Meston, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nelson, E.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Richard, L.
Ripon, Bp.
Rix, L. [Teller.] Robson of Kiddington, B.
Sainsbury, L.
St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Bp.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Shannon, E.
Shaughnessy, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Southwell, Bp.
Stallard, L.
Stedman, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tordoff, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Wharton, B.
White, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchester, Bp.


Aberdare, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Ampthill, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Beloff, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.] Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Coleraine, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.] Crathorne, L.
Cuckney, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Cumberlege, B.
De Freyne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Downshire, M.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Faithfull, B.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Gage, V.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Harlech, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hemphill, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Huntly, M.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Knollys, V.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.] Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newall, L.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Orkney, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Romney, E.
St. Davids, V.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.] Terrington, L.
Teynham, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Westbury, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

12 Feb 1996 : Column 408

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