§ 3. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from voluntary bodies concerning their funding; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Mellor
The Home Office makes grants to more than 100 voluntary organisations and to about 350 hostels and local bodies providing accommodation or facilities for 1126 offenders. We have received 19 representations about funding in the current financial year. We have been able to offer additional resources in eight cases and a further five cases are still under consideration.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Leaving aside the important problem of the lack of adequate resources for some of these organisations, does the Minister agree that there is a lack of consistency in the way in which all Government Departments process applications from and give grants to voluntary organisations? Will he give the House an undertaking that he will be prepared to review the procedures used by his Department and others so that a common, logical and consistent system can be applied to all Departments and all voluntary organisations?
§ Mr. Mellor
I can speak only for the Home Office, but we are always willing to look at the basis upon which we make grants. Indeed, we have a close relationship with the various vital bodies to which we make grants. Our willingness always to reconsider the level of funding in appropriate circumstances is testimony to the free interchange of information between us.
§ Mr. Waller
Does my hon. Friend accept that we should back those bodies which are very successfully providing alternatives to custody for young offenders? Is he aware that many local authority social services departments resent the success that such bodies are enjoying in providing intermediate treatment and that local authority funding is therefore being withdrawn? Will he have a word with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services to see whether a more secure future can be provided for these very valuable bodies'?
§ Mr. Mellor
I know of the local case that concerns my hon. Friend. The Government have put some £15 million of new resources into intermediate treatment schemes, and it is regrettable that the schemes are not receiving the support that they should from some local authorities in taking up that funding, even when the schemes have shown themselves to he successful. It would be regrettable if the Government were left to pick up the bill on a continuing basis when local authorities, which serve local communities, have everything to gain from these facilities being in existence in their areas.