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Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to secure improvement of hostel accommodation for single people in accordance with the recommendations of the survey undertaken by the Supplementary Benefits Commission in October 1972.

The survey's findings indicated that the supply of hostel accom- modation was declining, but no recommendations were made. Before 1974 financial support for hostel provision was totally inadequate, and, indeed, local authority hostel schemes were not eligible for subsidy. In order to remedy this the Housing Act 1974 enabled housing association grant to be paid for hostel projects undertaken by registered housing associations, and in the same Act we provided that local authority hostels should be eligible for housing subsidy, so that a substantial part of the capital cost of such hostels is now met by the Government.The Housing Corporation has recently announced that it intends to devote 5 per cent. of its 1978–79 budget to funding hostels, and we have agreed to relax some of the requirements so that housing association grant may be payable for hostel projects providing care and support.