HC Deb 04 February 1977 vol 925 cc459-60W
Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will introduce legislation to require builders of houses or flats intended or designed for occupation by elderly people to instal warning lights in the windows.

Mr. Freeson

No. Most housing specially designed for old people is provided by housing authorities, new town development corporations and housing associations to standards set out in Ministry of Housing and Local Government Circular 82/69. Those standards require that an alarm system, communicating with a warden, be provided in accommodation designed to meet the needs of less active elderly people. Where alarm systems are included in accommodation for more active elderly people, they attract an addition to the housing cost yardstick.

Mr. Jim Callaghan

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that fire precautions and contingencies for the evacuation of old people are adequate in high-rise blocks of flats in the Greater Manchester metropolitan county.

Mr. Armstrong

Management of local authority housing is a matter for the authority concerned. Although I understand that most authorities in Greater Manchester as a matter of general practice no longer house old people in high-rise blocks, except possibly on the lower floors, there may well be old people who have occupied these dwellings for many years. The design of these buildings would comply with the Building Regulations or byelaws and codes of practice for fire precautions pertaining at the time of their construction. The precautions and methods used in the evacuation of old people from high-rise flats is again the responsibility of local housing authorities who, in consultation with the local chief fire officer, should be expected to review regularly procedures for each block or group of flats.