§ 17. Mr. Gwilym Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made on his initiative in Wales to help the mentally handicapped.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
Since my right hon. Friend launched the all-Wales strategy for the development of services for mentally handicapped people on 21 March last, a satisfactory start has been made in laying foundations for the development of services and the fulfilment of tasks outlined in the strategy document.
§ Mr. Roberts
We have approved individual projects up to a full year value of £2.4 million to give each county area and the vanguard districts a good start. The early schemes included the appointment of a number of key personnel in the social services departments and health authorities. All future funding will be approved in the context of comprehensive 10-year plans which, for county areas, are expected to be submitted soon.
§ Mr. Wigley
Will the Under-Secretary of State confirm that an important part of the provision to help mentally handicapped people to become reintegrated into the community is special housing and small housing developments? Will he further confirm that the provision made by housing associations is a key factor? Will he therefore give an undertaking that at least the same funds will be available to the housing associations in Wales next year and that there is enough to cover the growth requirement of the present programmes so that they can play the necessary part in helping mentally handicapped people?
§ Mr. Roberts
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that housing for the mentally handicapped is important. That is why legislative powers have been taken to fund such special housing. I am unable, however, to give any assurance as to next year before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State takes his decisions on the various allocations in the block grant.