HC Deb 09 February 1978 vol 943 cc677-8W
Mr. Dan Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he proposes to publish the discussion document on the elderly which he announced recently; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ennals

The Government hope to publish the discussion document this spring. It will be concerned with the quality of life and well-being of all elderly people and within that context will cover a wide varietly of issues such as preparation for retirement, the role of the elderly in society, income, leisure and employment facilities, family and community support, and services for those requiring help including housing, transport, and education, as well as health and personal social services. The document is intended to provide a basis for comment and general public debate to assist the Government in preparing a White Paper on the elderly which is due to follow in 1979. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I together with our colleagues in the other Departments involved, would like to receive comments on the document before the end of September 1978 at the latest. I hope that in the light of what I have said about the scope of the document and taking account of the availability of resources, those wishing to comment will be able to give some preliminary thought to the various issues in advance of publication.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland that the needs of the elderly in Scotland are at present being considered by a programme planning group set up jointly by the Scottish Health Services Planning Council and the Advisory Council on Social Work, and I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that he will be following our deliberations closely with a view to considering a corresponding Northern Ireland study; the discussion document will therefore be confined to England and Wales save for matters such as social security which relate to the United Kingdom as a whole.