§ Mr. Rowe
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what information he has as to how many local authorities' social services departments take responsibility for the adaptation of premises for disabled persons;
(2) what information he has about differences in practice between local authorities as regards the use of housing department funds, on the one hand, and social service department funds, on the other, to support the adaptation of premises for disabled people; and what is his assessment of the implications of such differences for the achievement of a consistent national policy in this field.
§ Mr. Major
Social services authorities have a duty, under section 2(1)(e) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, to make arrangements for the provision of assistance with, or arranging for the carrying out of, works of adaptation to the home of any disabled person who is ordinarily resident in their area, when they are satisfied that this is necessary in order to meet that person's needs.
Local housing authorities have powers under existing housing legislation, notably the Housing Act 1985, to 363W improve or adapt properties in their own housing stock. They also have powers under the same legislation to make home improvement grants to owner-occupiers, landlords and tenants to help meet the cost of such adaptations.
In the light of these provisions, it is for the local authorities concerned to decide how in practice housing adaptations for disabled people should be funded in their area. The responsibility for such funding, both for local authority and non-local authority housing, will vary from area to area. The most recent available annual figures show that 102 out of 107 local social services authorities had assisted with adaptations to non-local authority property and 47 had also assisted with adaptations to local authority property.
We have no reason to believe that different arrangements in different local authority areas constitute, in themselves, any impediment to the provision of assistance to disabled people.
§ Mrs. Shields
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends to lay the commencement order for the Disabled Persons (Services Consultation and Representation) Act 1986.