HC Deb 26 November 1992 vol 214 cc981-2
8. Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimated amount of money allocated for the introduction of the community care programme in April 1993 in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Jeremy Hanley)

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State announced on 19 November 1992 that the funds to be transferred from social security to the health and personal social services in Northern Ireland to support the changes in the community care arrangements from April 1993 will amount to £24.63 million in 1993–94, rising to £65.28 million in 1994–95 and to £100.33 million in 1995–96. Any additional funds secured in the public expenditure round will be announced at the conclusion of the survey.

Mrs. Fyfe

Does the Minister know that there are about 201,000 disabled people in Northern Ireland and that that represents a prevalence rate of 174 per thousand, which is a higher average than any other region in Britain and 22 per cent. worse than the British average? In allocating funds for the community care programme, will he therefore take account of the high prevalence of disabilities in Northern Ireland and allocate the full amount necessary?

Mr. Hanley

I am grateful for the hon. Lady's statistics. She is right to say that we have many problems in Northern Ireland, a great number of which are caused by the health, deprivation and problems that exist in that area. The amounts of money that have been allocated take that into account and a higher proportion is given per person for those purposes than in Great Britain. I am grateful for the hon. Lady's interest.

Rev. Martin Smyth

I welcome the care that has been given towards community provision in Northern Ireland and the sums that are being and have been allocated. However, is the Minister satisfied that, in the allocation of those funds, independent homes such as Lakeside, in my constituency, and others will not be jeopardised because of the possible failure to have full accommodation to give them the opportunity to provide a high standard of service?

Mr. Hanley

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Indeed, the home that he mentions gives great service to the community. In Northern Ireland, the care of each individual will be very carefully assessed, and the outcome of the individual assessments will dictate the nature, level and locality of the services to be provided. The private sector will be essential in helping to provide those services.

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