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Detoxification And Alcohol Rehabilitation

Volume 961: debated on Tuesday 23 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) in what form and in what amounts grant aid expenditure will be made available to local authorities to enable them to provide any detoxification or alcohol rehabilitation facilities in pursuance of clause 4 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill;(2) what detoxification or alcohol rehabilitation facilities are proposed for each region of Scotland in implementation of clause 4 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill; and what will be the capital and estimated annual expenditure in each case;(3) what financial or other assistance he proposes to give to private or charitable bodies which have facilities which may be designated by him as suitable for the care of drunken persons in terms of clause 4 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill; and if he will list those facilities which he so far regards as suitable for the purpose.

I hope that an appropriate range of detoxification and rehabilitation facilities will gradually be established throughout Scotland. I beieve that in this field provision can best be made through local initiative in response to particuar local needs. Certain facilities already exist and we must of course ensure that the best use is being made of them. I understand that further proposals are under discussion by local authorities, health boards and voluntary organisations in a number of areas. We have not yet given detailed consideration to which of the present facilities might qualify for designation in terms of clause 4 of the Bill, but I am arranging for this to be done.On the question of finance, local authorities already have the power to provide detoxification and rehabilitation facilities for drunken offenders and others from existing resources with the assistance of rate support grant in the normal way. In addition, the Government are currently consulting with health boards and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on a proposed scheme whereby health boards would be able to provide financial support for jointly planned projects where, as in the case of detoxification and rehabilitation facilities, health interests and the social work interest of the local authorities overlap or complement each other. Funding for rehabilitation facilities may also be made available under the urban programme if certain criteria are met, and a number of alcoholism projects are already being assisted in this way. Both local authority social work departments and the social work services group of the Scottish Education Department have the power to give grants to voluntary bodies to set up and run rehabilitation facilities for alcoholics. I am not aware of any proposal to provide such facilities being frustrated because of lack of funds.The capital and current costs of designated detoxification and rehabilitation facilities will vary very greatly depending upon the nature of the premises and on the nature and level of the supportive care to be provided. It is not possible at this stage therefore to give a reliable estimate of the expenditure that will be involved.