HL Deb 12 April 1984 vol 450 c1318WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether following their written replies of 26th March, they will issue circulars of guidance to local authorities concerning (a) adapting and improving unlettable and hard-to-let dwellings; and (b) adapting and improving dwellings now occupied by the elderly for lifelong use, in both cases highlighting the pioneer work done by voluntary organisations.

Lord Skelmersdale

Local authorities are already well aware of the possibilities that exist for adapting and improving unlettable and hard-to-let dwellings, both through their own actions and in partnership with the private sector or voluntary organisations. This is one of the issues taken up in the Department of the Environment's Priority Estates Project and, during 1983, several initiatives were widely publicised through the department's film "Tackling Priority Estates". The Government do not consider that it would be appropriate at this moment to issue further advice.

The department will shortly be undertaking research on home improvement agencies, the broad aim of which will be to enable the Government to assess their potential future role. It would be premature to consider issuing any guidelines to local authorities specifically on this subject until the outcome of the research is known.

The work being done by voluntary organisations and others on adapting and improving dwellings occupied by elderly people, including the use of home improvement agencies, has been highlighted in the Department of the Environment's "welcome and timely" film and accompanying information pack: "Housing for the Elderly". All local authorities in England and Wales are being given the opportunity to see the film and join in discussions on the subject generally. The Government believe that in appropriate circumstances the use of film presentations in this way is an effective alternative to issuing circulars of guidance.