§ 38. Mr. Costain
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will encourage an increase in the number of training centres and residential hostels for the mentally handicapped in the county of Kent; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Current proposals and the 10-year development plan for its social services indicate that Kent County Council wants to increase quickly the number of training centres and residential homes for the mentally handicapped—in fact faster than the pace set nationally by the White Paper "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped" to which the resources currently available are matched. I welcome the council's enthusiasm, and regret that, in order to make resources available for authorities less far advanced, I am not able to permit it to proceed with its plans as fast as it would wish.
§ 45. Mr. Holland
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what new residential care facilities are being provided for the grievously mentally handicapped adult in need of special care to replace those which are no longer to be provided by regional hospital boards.
§ Sir K. Joseph
As envisaged in the White Paper, "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped" (Cmnd. 4683), regional hospital boards will provide residential facilities for mentally handicapped adults who require specialist medical supervision or constant nursing care and local authorities for others. This will require a considerable expansion of local authority residential facilities and we are encouraging local authorities to develop these as fast as resources permit. Hospitals will continue to provide for numbers of mentally handicapped people requiring care primarily on social grounds until in each area suitable local authority provision is made for them.
§ Mrs. Knight
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now consider seeking powers to relieve mentally handicapped persons who are incapable of working from the requirement to pay a weekly social security stamp.
§ Mr. Dean
Non-employed persons whose income does not exceed £468 a72W year—it is proposed to raise this to £520 from next October—can be excepted from payment of contributions. Under the Social Security Bill at present before Parliament payment of contributions by all non-employed persons will become voluntary.