asked the Secretary of Stale for the Environment how many local authorities impose charges for the services of a warden in sheltered housing units.
My Department does not collect this information.
Is not the Minister aware that some authorities and housing associations are using his Government's legislation to introduce these charges? For example, Macclesfield is to charge £4 a week to old people for this service, and the Anchor Housing Association is to charge £8.10 a week. Will he step in and take some action to stop this exploitation of elderly people, who are already finding it difficult to make ends meet because of his Government's policy, and who will get no help to meet these extra charges?
This in no way arises from decisions taken by the Government. Authorities such as Warrington are making these charges. The basic reason for the increases is that costs of warden services have increased due to wages and conditions of service agreements. This, and not Government cuts, is the cause.
Is the Minister aware that in the North-West there is a large demand for sheltered housing accommodation for sale? When he considers schemes such as that put forward by South Ribble, will he give special consideration to the cost of the warden's accommodation?
We always give extremely careful consideration to any special schemes put to us.