HC Deb 25 March 1957 vol 567 cc787-9
43 and 44. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Minister of Health (1) on what basis he approves schemes for Part III Accommodation in isolated areas, in view of the fact that it is the Government's policy that housing provision for the elderly should be near to the amenities of modern life;

(2) whether, in view of his decision to approve Part III Accommodation in some counties far away from the contact of voluntary welfare organisations and general amenities, he will set up a committee, in co-operation with the Minister of Housing and Local Government, to co-ordinate the provision of housing for the elderly on modern and humane principles.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

There is no reason to believe that in submitting proposals for Part III accommodation local authorities do not pay proper regard to general amenities and opportunities for contacts, and my right hon. Friend therefore does not consider that the establishment of a new committee is called for. Where, exceptionally, it is proposed to open a home in an isolated area, before giving approval, my right hon. Friend takes into account factors such as public transport facilities and the willingness of the residents to live in the country.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend why it is that his Department operates in direct opposition to the Minister of Housing and Local Government? In view of the fact that my hon. Friend has telescoped my two Questions, may I ask him whether he is aware that the arrangements for housing the elderly are far from satisfactory and that, in my view, it would be very much wiser if he got down to the suggestion of having a committee to advise him so that we should not have some of the scandals we have had recently in housing the old far away from any amenities or voluntary organisations?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I thought my hon. Friend intend to raise a particular matter affecting her constituency. I will certainly study her supplementary question.

Dame Irene Ward

My hon. Friend is coming to see me and I will discuss the matter with him then.

Mr. Gibson

Will the Minister ask his hon. Friend to recognise that the real difficulty in this matter is that local authorities cannot find enough money easily to build these places? Will he consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government with a view to introducing some form of subsidy to encourage this kind of building?

Mr. Dodds

On a point of order. Will you, for my guidance, Mr. Speaker, explain how it is possible for an hon. Member with two Questions taken together to say as much in a supplementary as another hon. Member who had three Questions taken together on the subject of the liberty of the individual, especially when the latter is stopped before he has said as much as the hon. Member who has only two Questions taken together?

Mr. Speaker

I thought the supplementary question by the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Dodds), when he had three Questions answered together, was longer than that asked by the hon. Lady the Member for Tyne-mouth (Dame Irene Ward). It sounded longer to me. That is all I can say. It is not entirely a question, from my point of view, of the importance of the subject. I try to take that into account, but I also have to bear in mind that other hon. Members have Questions down, too. Dame Irene Ward.

Dame Irene Ward

I will not ask another supplementary question, Mr. Speaker, as I do not want to get involved in this. Question No. 45.