§ 1970. Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the percentage increase in the state retirement pensions and the pensioners' price index since: (a) 1983, (b) 1979, (c) 1974 and (d)
§ Mr. Whitney
The main change announced in HN(86)11 was the decision to permit extended periods of joint financing for the expansion of services for drug misusers. This means that health authorities will be able to make payments to local authorities, and to voluntary organisations, for up to 10 years at 100 per cent. of the cost and for 13 years in all, for a social services input to the development of services for drug misusers. Extra allocations of funds to regional health authorities totalling £5 million a year for the expansion of these services were announced in circular HC(86)3. We expect most of the extra funds to be allocated under the joint finance arrangements with a reasonable proportion being applied to local authority and voluntary sector projects. It is not possible at present to say more precisely what the total effect will be of the decisions about joint finance taken by individual district health authorities.
It is not anticipated that the changes in HN(86)11 will otherwise have any bearing on central Government support for local authorities. They were relatively minor changes. First, the conditions for making capital grants were eased so that the full repayment of grant is no longer required in all circumstances where the property ceases to be used for the intended purpose. Second, the pattern of payments can now be revised in later years within the total maximum period and there is scope for the Secretary of State to approve extended periods of payments to meet the full revenue cost of a project. Third, the wording of the conditions is clarified regarding the duty of health authorities to satisfy themselves that voluntary organisations receiving joint finance grants will meet continuing financial responsibilities as joint finance tapers off.