§ Mr. Wood
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many local authority elderly people's homes have closed since the introduction of the Care Standards Act 2000. 182W
§ Jacqui Smith
I have been asked to reply.
The Care Standards Act will require the National Care Standards Commission to register and inspect local authority care homes for the first time from 1 April 2002. As this legislation has not yet been implemented there should not have been any impact on local authority homes. The Care Standards Act will regard local authority homes as "existing homes" for purposes of compliance with national minimum standards. This means that local authorities will have until 2007 to comply with the room size and shared room standards. This longer lead in time was set in order to avoid any closures in care homes once the National Care Standards Commission begins to apply the standards. It allows local authorities sufficient time to comply with the standards.