§ Mr. Thurnham
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the savings which would accrue to public funds if local authority residential homes were run at the same cost as equivalent private sector homes. 
§ Mr. Burns
We have made no such estimate. Published statistics show the different costs to local authorities of care in homes for the elderly in different sectors, but these homes may not be equivalent. We believe that purchasing care from the independent sector would be more cost702W effective for local authorities. To achieve these savings, local authorities need to see their role as commissioners rather than providers of services.