§ Lady Saltoun of Abernethy
asked Her Majesty's Government:
- (i) Whether, and if so how, they can force local authorities to fund the cost of maintaining speech alarms for those on low incomes residing in their own homes, not in sheltered housing; and
- (ii) Whether they will give serious consideration to the whole question of the funding of these electronic personal alarms, with a view to devising some system which is quick, simple and certain.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Lord Skelmersdale)
The Government's view is that an emergency alarm should form part of a co-ordinated package of community support, and that the cost of the alarm should be considered along with those of the other services involved. The level of resources to be devoted to community support services is a matter for the local social services authority to decide in the light of local needs and circumstances and the total resources available. Where a local authority determines that a disabled person is in need of the services specified in Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (which could include an alarm) it has a duty to provide whatever is necessary. A local authority can recover a reasonable charge subject to the person's ability to pay. We have no plans to review the funding of emergency alarm systems.