asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will consider giving a higher degree of priority to facilities for the mentally handicapped in the capital allocation of new projects.
We already give high priority to capital provision for the mentally handicapped within the limited funds available, as my right hon. Friend made clear during the debate on the National Health Service finance on 2nd December 1974—[Vol. 882, c. 1215.] This is one of the high priorities established for the 1975–76 capital programme; but there are others which in the local situation may be judged to merit precedence. My right hon. Friend's most recent statement on mental handicap policy made in her reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 26th February—[Vol. 887, c. 159–62.]—also makes clear the importance we attach to the development of facilities for mentally handicapped people. We have asked health authorities to maintain present levels of capital spending on provision for the mentally handicapped, together with that for the elderly and mentally ill. Local authorities have also been given an indication of the priority associated nationally with these services, and building programmes which they have submitted for 1975–76 meet the targets set in the White Paper "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped".