§ 13. Mr. Alan Clark
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with arrangements made for young offenders on remand; and what action he proposes to take in this regard.
§ Dr. Owen
We have available, specifically under the Children and Young Persons Act 1969, power to direct grants for secure accommodation, and we have made available £2 million for this purpose. We are giving a very high priority to all loan sanction approvals for secure accommodation. This comes off local authority social services budgets, which are already hard pressed with demands for the elderly, the mentally handicapped, and the mentally ill. It says a lot for the commitment of local authorities to the principles of the Act that they are prepared to give this such a very high priority.
§ Dr. Owen
Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to announce today that no more children will be going to an adult prison. Concerning children under 14, particularly girls, there is a particular problem in the London area with Holloway. Local authorities are well aware of this and share the concern of the House and of others outside, but 185 secure accommodation cannot be conjured up overnight. It would be ridiculous to make such a pledge and then not be able to fulfil it.