§ [Nos. 143A and 143B]
§ Insert the following clause:
§ Grants in respect of secure accommodation for children in England and Wales
§ "64A.—(l) The Secretary of State may make to local authorities out of moneys provided by Parliament grants of such amount and subject to such conditions as he may with the consent of the Teasury determine in respect of expenditure incurred by the authorities in providing secure accommodation in community homes other than assisted community homes.1295
§ (2) The Secretary of State may with the consent of the Treasury require the local authority to repay the grant, in whole or in part, if the secure accommodation in respect of which the grant was made (including such accommodation in a controlled community home) ceases to be used as such.
§ (3) In this section secure accommodation "means accommodation provided for the purposes of restricting the liberty of children in a community home".")
§ Insert the following new clause:
§ Grants in respect of secure accommodation for children in Scotland
§ 59A.—(1) The Secretary of State may make to a local authority grants of such amount and subject to such conditions as he may with the consent of the Treasury determine in respect of expenditure incurred by the authority in—
- (a) providing;
- (b) joining with another local authority in providing; or
- (c) contributing by way of grant under section 10(3) of this Act to the provision by a voluntary organisation of;
§ (2) The conditions subject to which grants are made under subsection (1) of this section may include conditions for securing the repayment in whole or in part of such grants.
§ (3) In this section "secure accommodation" means accommodation provided for the purpose of restricting the liberty of children.""
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Lord WINTERBOTTOM
My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to move Amendments Nos. 143A and 143B together. The purpose of Amendment No. 143A is to give the Secretary of State power to make grants to local authorities to provide secure accommodation in community homes other than assisted community homes. The Amendment gives effect to an undertaking given by my right honourable friend the Minister of State in another place on 20th June this year. Amendment No. 143B introduces a corresponding new clause for Scotland. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments.—(Lord Winterbottom.)1296
§ Lord ELTON
My Lords, this is very germane to what we have been discussing, and indeed to the 480 secure places that were mentioned, which is not a very large figure in comparison with 3,500 or more sentences per annum. Moreover, we realise that this is not a net increase in funds but represents the payment of grants as opposed to loans. There is no immediate tide of cash which will result in the building of these places in the instant future unless circumstances change more rapidly than we at present expect. Moreover, the expense of providing secure places is comprised not only in the provision of bricks, mortar, washbasins and so on. May I instance a residential home for physically handicapped adults in Coventry of which the noble Lord may be aware. This is due to be completed in June 1976 but is unlikely to be occupied until the financial year 1978–79, because one needs staff and they must be found and trained. Here we come back to the continuing theme of when is the money going to be forthcoming and when is the Bill going to be more than good intentions?—because when none of the bricks, mortar and people is available, the presence of an intention on the Statute Book does little to resolve the very pressing problems which beset our society and which are intensified, I believe, by putting children into prison when they ought to be in very strict homes.
§ Baroness MASHAM of ILTON
My Lords, if I may be allowed to speak again on this point, I know perfectly well that near me in the North Pollington borstal is now empty, and there is a property which could well be used as a secure place. This would be far better than putting people in prison. I think that in the Children Bill we should certainly mention this: we would rather have them in secure places than in prisons with adults.
§ Lord WINTERBOTTOM
I am sure the noble Baroness's comment will be noted by my honourable friend. It sounds a very sensible suggestion, and I would also agree with everybody who relates good intentions to hard cash. The intentions of the present Administration to increase the productivity of British industry and its efficiency can in due course, if properly applied, bring benefits directly 1297 through this important and humane legislation we are now discussing. I hope that the resources will soon match the intentions.