§ Mr. Gwilym Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about restrictions in the range of National Health Service frames on display at opticians; what steps he is taking to ensure that opticians make known to customers the full range of National Health Service frames; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Moyle
The Price Commission's 1976 report on the prices of private spectacles and contact lenses included a recommendation that the full range of National Health Service frames should be regularly stocked and displayed. A subsequent report by the Consumers' Association expressed a similar view and a number of community health councils and other local bodies have also made representations.
My Department shares the concern of these organisations and a proposal to include in opticians' statutory terms of service with the National Health Service a requirement to display or show the
NUMBER OF PERSONS RECEIVING SUPPLEMENTARY BENEFIT WHERE IT WAS NECESSARY TO PURSUE THE QUESTION OF LIABILITY TO MAINTAIN, THE COST OF THE BENEFIT PAID AND THE YEARLY VALUE OF PAYMENTS MADE BY THE LIABLE RELATIVES Category 1975 Number* Yearly rate* of benefit expenditure £ million Yearly value* of payments received by claimants from liable relatives £ million Yearly value of payments received by Department from liable relatives £ million Separated wives … 139,000 135 11 18½ Divorced women … 85,000 95½ 6 Single women … 54,000 50½ 2 Others … 23,000 24½ 1 1976 Separated wives … 152,000 174 13½ 22 Divorced women … 103,000 133 8½ Single women … 58,000 63½ 2½ Others … 24,000 3l½ 1 1977 Separated wives … 145,000 186 12½ 29¾ Divorced women … 112,000 162 13 Single women … 58,000 72½ 3 Others … 30,000 43½ 1½ * Estimates revised from the annual statistical enquiry. Actual receipts (provisional figures). As indicated, column 5 showed provisional figures and the final figures for the yearly value of payments received by the Department from liable relatives were £20¼ million (1975), £24¼ million (1976) and £28¾ million (1977) The rate of supplementary benefit expenditure shown in those tables is not the same as the"amount of maintenance not received"because in many cases there is not liability for all of the persons whose requirements are included in the assessment of benefit. Information about the benefit expenditure arising solely from non-receipt of maintenance is not available.