§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the hon. 'Member for Normanton (Mr. O'Brien) on 29 November 1985, whether he has, as an exception to the policy in circular 26/85, approved any applications by local authorities for the payment of Exchequer contribution in respect of grants for disabled council tenants.
§ Mr. John Patten
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Wales and I are aware of the special needs of disabled people and recognise that it may be necessary for adaptation to their homes to be carried out quickly to meet those needs. We have therefore decided to make a general exception to the policy in circular 26/85 (Welsh Office 54/85) as regards home improvement grants for the adaptation of local authority dwellings by disabled council tenants.
It will no longer be necessary for local authorities to refer individual applications to the Departments for the payment of Exchequer contribution in respect of grants 551W under part VII of the Housing Act 1974, given by a local authority which contributes all or part of the tenant's share of the cost. In future, Exchequer contribution will be payable in the usual way in respect of such cases. The Departments are informing local authorities of this decision.