HC Deb 29 July 1975 vol 896 cc423-4W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will detail those parts of the recommendations of the report on habitual drunken offenders that have been implemented; and what plans she has to introduce the others.

Dr. Owen

It was announced in 1972 that services for habitual drunken offenders would be provided as part of a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation service for all alcoholics under the aegis of the Department. Circular 21/73 of May 1973 advised local authorities to assess local need, and, in consultation with voluntary organisations, to decide what range of facilities could be provided. From April 1973 a scheme for capital and revenue deficit funding has encouraged voluntary organisations to provide hostels for alcoholics, which the report listed as its highest priority. Grants have also been made to provide information services and other "contact" facilities for alcoholics, and towards specialised education for those working with alcoholics. There have been discussions with the bodies concerned with professional education. There has been a growth in the number of shelters and other experimental facilities for homeless single people. Better links have been created between community facilities and the health services, and bodies like Campaign for the Homeless and Rootless and Federation of Alcoholic Residential Establishments, with some financial help from the Department, work towards better co-ordination of voluntary effort. The work of some hostels and other facilities for alcoholics has been evaluated. An experimental hospital detoxification unit is being built in Manchester: a variety of other detoxification proposals are being considered elsewhere. Progress generally has been slower than I would have wished, but I have set up the Advisory Committee on Alcoholics with a special sub-group on services for the homeless alcoholics, including the habitual drunken offender, and I look to see such further progress as is possible given current resources constraints.