§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps his Department has taken since 1979 to meet the growing accommodation needs of elderly people in Wales.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
Provision for the elderly occupies a prominent place in our Department's housing policies In making housing investment programme allocations we continue to encourage local authorities to concentrate resources on those in special need, such as the elderly. Substantial provision is also made in the Housing Corporation's approved development programme for housing for the elderly provided by housing associations.
The Housing Act 1980 introduced a more flexible renovation grant system allowing homes to be improved with the aid of a grant in stages, which is more suitable to the needs of many elderly persons. The will also have benefited from the increased rate of repair and intermediate grants available between 1 April 1982 and 31 March 1984, and remain eligible in cases of hardship for grants of 90 per cent. of the cost of approved works. In 1980 we also introduced 90 per cent. grants under the home insulation scheme for loft insulation for elderly people on low incomes.
I believe there is great scope for the private sector to make a greater contribution to meeting the housing needs of the elderly and am anxious to encourage greater cooperation between builders, public authorities and the voluntary sector. Our Department has therefore assisted the House Builders Federation in the organisation of a seminar on these matters, which is to take place in Cardiff on 11 May 1984.