§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received concerning the plight of elderly people with inadequate means to heat their homes; what action he is taking to enable local authorities to help elderly people, including those 223W living alone, who are missed by the social services, through good neighbour schemes and direct financial aid; and when section 45 of the Health Services and Public Health Act, 1968 will be brought into force.
§ Mr. Crossman
The attention of medical officer of health has regularly been drawn to the need of those concerned with the elderly to be alert to the dangers of hypothermia, the most recent advice being given on 21st November last.
Many elderly people are entitled to supplementary benefits designed to ensure a level of income sufficient to cover all normal requirements, and these can be increased in exceptional cases where a claimant needs more heating, for example, because of ill health or damp accommodation. Supplementary benefit scale rates were again raised only last November. Local authorities have been advised on the way good neighbour schemes may supplement the home help service, and I am considering whether there is a need to repeat this.
I am now discussing with the local authority associations how and when Section 45 should be brought into force.