HC Deb 14 June 2004 vol 422 cc759-60W
Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what(a) initiatives, (b) campaigns and (c) advisory bodies relating to older people his Department (i) is responsible and (ii) has provided funding since 2001; and what the cost in each year was for each one. [166240]

Fiona Mactaggart

The Home Office is involved in a number of campaigns and initiatives relating to older people.

Older people are the most likely targets of 'distraction burglary' i.e. burglary committed by bogus callers. In October 2001, the "Good Practice Guide on Tackling Distraction Burglary" was published alongside two videos and supporting literature, which continue to be used today. The cost of this was in the region of £127,000. To support this: practitioner seminars have been run across the regions and a newsletter providing updates and advice is circulated at a cost of £5,000 per year; a new mini website dedicated to distraction burglary has been developed to sit within the Department's crime reduction website; and this comes at the same time as a new media campaign to raise awareness of distraction burglary at a cost of £77,000. The Department supports the charity Help the Aged: it has contributed over £60,000 to Help the Aged for Rural Development since 2001; departmental representatives have attended, spoken at and hosted seminars in the Help the Aged Senior Safety conference programme since 2002 (travel and subsistence costs only); and the Department is about to launch, through Help the Aged, a three-month pilot of 'reassurance cards' to advise older people about home security at a cost of £2,000.

It was recently announced that World War II veterans and civilians over the age of 75 would be eligible for a free 10-year passport. By 19 May, almost 500 free passports had been issued, the majority to veterans of the Normandy landings. The standard passport currently costs £42.

Over this period, the Active Community Unit has strategically funded three organisations specifically to involve older people in volunteering: The Experience Corps was established in 2001 and received £5.5 million, £7 million, and £7 million over the three years of the initiative, this funding ended March 2004; (RSVP, retired and senior volunteer programme), received £130,000 per year over the past three fears, 2003£04 and will receive £133,250 this year; and REACH received £85,000 per year over the past three years, 2001–04 and will receive £87,125 this year.

Project funding of £55,000 per year for three years beginning March 2001 was given to Help and Care, an organisation that supports and encourages older people's role as active citizens within their communities. This came to an end in March 2004.

The Active Community Unit has also contributed funding of £50,000 to the Better Government for Older People Network. This consisted of £20,000 revenue funding in February 2002 and £30,000 capital funding in January 2003.

In April 2004, the Home Office announced that they were going to invest £600,000 over two years to develop a national co-ordinating body for older volunteers.

And finally, during the four years 1999–2003, the Home Office Older Volunteers Initiative provided funding of £1.476 million to 26 projects aimed at improving the number and quality of the opportunities for people aged 50 or over to volunteer and involve themselves in the community.