§ 29. Mr. Bidwell
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what additional capital resources have been made available for housing the elderly as a result of the increased sale of council houses.
§ Mr. Bidwell
It is clear that the Question has been dodged. Since the traditional policies of housing municipalisation intertwine the provision for the aged with existing council tenancies and so on, will not there be a tendency to allow old people to fend for themselves? Is it not clear that the Government's aim is not only to run down the whole of public control of housing in this respect but also public provision for the elderly?
§ Mr. Eyre
To refer to the hon. Gentleman's Question, it is true that more resources are received by the local authority, and this is potentially one of the good results of selling. As to the need to build for the elderly, in each case it is for the local authorities to decide. Now that they have an improved framework in which to operate, there is no question of 1504 limiting the resources available to borrowing as there was under the previous Government.
§ Mr. Costain
Does my hon. Friend appreciate that it would help to house the elderly and to reduce land and house prices if planning authorities would give permission, regardless of density, for additional accommodation for the elderly to live adjacent to their children? Will he discuss that with planning authorities?
§ Mr. Eyre
Yes, Sir, and I agree with my hon. Friend's point that density in planning permissions is relevant in this case. But the main factors my hon. Friend mentioned about the building programme are matters which can be decided by the local authority. We are encouraging them to progress along that line.
§ Mr. Pavitt
Will the hon. Gentleman have urgent consultations with the Secretary of State for Social Services in the light of major reorganisations in local government and the Health Service and, under the Seebohm Report, of welfare services? The question of housing the elderly runs across all three, and geriatric wards and Part III homes. There is an urgent need for the right hon. Gentleman's Department to co-ordinate all those efforts.