HC Deb 29 January 1968 vol 757 cc875-6
45. Mr. Tapsell

asked the Minister of Health what effects the economy measures announced on 16th January will have on local authority building programmes for the provision of old people's homes and hostels under Part III of the National Assistance Act, 1948.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Julian Snow)

Though the building of these homes and hostels will necessarily proceed at a rather lower rate than we had hoped, we expect a substantial programme to continue.

Mr. Tapsell

In view of the fact that both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health have given an assurance that there is to be no cut or slow-down in the hospital building programme, should not this policy, as a matter of both logic and social justice. be applied also to old people's homes?

Mr. Snow

I do not think that we are doing badly, and we hope to provide in due course a much bigger programme; but in case the hon. Member is suffering from what is called Schadenfreude, I must tell him that the programme for the present year, allowing for adjustment of prices, will be more than the £11 million odd in the last year when the party opposite was responsible.

Mr. Dean

Now that the hon. Gentleman has specifically said that there is to be a cut in the planned programme, can he say when local authorities will know which projects will be cut, because of the state of uncertainty which exists at the moment?

Mr. Snow

Estimated loan sanction will be more or less the same figure as last year. As to the programme which we shall authorise, I should tell the House that my right hon. Friend is to ask the local authorities to tell him which are the projects they would wish to proceed with in present circumstances and then he will issue loan sanction within the limits based on the principles enunciated by the Prime Minister.

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