§ Mr. Kilfedder
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current cost of the home help service of the Northern Ireland Eastern health and services board; and what savings have resulted from recent reductions in hours worked in individual homes for the elderly and other groups requiring such help.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
There has not been any reduction in the Eastern Health and Social Services Board's 1983–84 budget for the home help service and no savings have been made at the expense of the home help service. The board's budget for this service in the current financial year is £7,403,460, an increase of 5 per cent. on the 1982–83 budget of £7,051,970. However, in order to contain the cost of the service within even the increased amount, the board must pay close attention to the allocation of hours to new and existing clients to ensure that those most in need receive appropriate help. In some individual cases, this may involve a decrease in the hours allocated.