HC Deb 24 February 1971 vol 812 cc547-8
7. Mr. McElhone

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what assistance he is prepared to give to local authorities to enable them to recruit more home helps to look after chronically sick and disabled people under the 1970 Act.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Edward Taylor)

This Act does not affect the provision of home helps in Scotland. My right hon. Friend has decided to bring into operation on 1st April Section 14 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act, 1968, which places a duty on local authorities to provide home help for those who need it, including the disabled. Provision has been made for the development of this service in the Rate Support Grant Order for 1971.

Mr. McElhone

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is growing concern among Scottish local authorities about the shortage of financial assistance from the Government to provide more home helps? Is he further aware that, under the Social Work (Scotland) Act, he is obliged to provide more home helps for people who are in need?

Mr. Taylor

The hon. Gentleman will, no doubt, have noted from the report on the Rate Support Grant Order that the local authorities' current expenditure on social work services is expected to rise from £21 million in 1969–70 to over £26 million in 1972–73. This increase of 25 per cent. will enable the authorities, among other things, to expand the home help service.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the requirements of Sections 1 and 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970, are being or will be met in respect of the severely disabled in Scotland? With regard to Section 1 of the Act, does he agree that there will be little point in finding out the number of severely disabled persons unless we know who they are and where they live?

Mr. Taylor

The situation in Scotland is rather different from that of England. The Sections of the Act to which the hon. Gentleman has referred do not apply to Scotland. We have our own Social Work Act, which covers similar circumstances.