HC Deb 23 March 1979 vol 964 cc220-1W
Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further progress has been made in improving housing provision for disabled people since the statement made by the Minister for Housing and Construction in February 1975; and if he will make a further statement.

Mr. Freeson

In the period following the passage of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 and up to the end of 1973, local authorities and housing associations completed 383 wheelchair dwellings in England and Wales. In 1974, 765 wheelchair dwellings were started and I introduced the concept of"mobility"housing: general housing designed to meet the needs of the majority of people with physical disabilities.

In my statement to the House on 4 February 1975, I started a"drive"to increase housing provision for disabled people and their families.

Since then, local authorities and housing associations in England have notified my Department of plans for about 4,400 wheelchair homes; more than 3,600 have been started and more than 2,600 completed. Since we introduced the concept of"mobility housing ", almost 32,000"mobility"homes have been planned, 18,500 started, and about 5,000 completed.

In consultation with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Social Services and our right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, I issued last year to local authorities a policy circular DOE 59/78"Adaptations of Housing for People Who Are Physically Handicapped"stressing the value to disabled people of adaptations to their existing homes. This circular sets out arrangements to improve procedures in this field which we asked social services and housing authorities to adopt.

We commissioned two important research projects which we published last year on comprehensive assessments of the housing needs of disabled people and the difficulties of families who are looking after a severely handicapped child at home. Copies of these reports—Housing Development Directorate Occasional Papers 3/78"Housing Services for Disabled People"and 4/78"Handicapped Children: Their Homes and Life Styles"have been sent to all local authorities.

We have joined in preparing the British Standard Code of Practice BS 5619: 1978"Design of Housing for the Convenience of Disabled People ". This gives practical guidance for the provision of"mobility"housing for owner-occupiers, being designed for the private sector where, too,

£ million at 1978 survey prices
1979–80 1980–81 1981–82 1982–83
Net expenditure provision 41.9 50.0 50.0 50.0
Assumed disposal receipts 18.0 40.0 66.0 103.0
Resultant gross expenditure 59.9 90.0 116.0 153.0
Net expenditure provision 5.3 5.8 5.7 5.4
Assumed disposal receipts 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.3
Resultant gross expenditure 5.8 6.8 6.7 6.7
Net expenditure provision 6.6 8.5 8.5 8.5
Assumed disposal receipts 5.9 6.6 7.1 7.1
Resultant gross expenditure 12.5 15.1 15.6 15.6