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Autism And Asperger Syndrome

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding he has allocated into the (a) causes, (b) care and (c) treatment of (i) autism and (ii) Asperger Syndrome in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [102930]

The Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives most of its income via grant in aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, is the main government agency that funds research into medical conditions. The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support for research into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. The MRC funds a large amount of work on the causes and treatment of autism, and to increase the knowledge base of issues surrounding autism. The amounts the MRC has spent on autism research in recent years are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: MRC spend on autism research
(an figures for 2001–02)
I announced on 14 February 2002 that the Government have allocated an extra £2.5 million to the MRC to help them to take forward recommendations on further research contained in their report of their review of the epidemiology and causes of autism. The additional funds provide the opportunity for the MRC to accelerate research on autism, building on existing strengths and addressing gaps, which were identified in the report. It will complement and add to the MRCs current support for research in this field.Under the section 64 General Scheme of Grants to Voluntary Organisations, the Department of Health issues funds to further its objectives in the health and social care fields in England. National Autistic Society projects, which have received funding in the last five years, are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Section 64 Grants to the National Autistic Society
YearProjectAmount (£)
1998–99Regional Advice Service40,000
1999–2000Regional Advice Service45,000
1999–2000Asperger's Syndrome40,000
2000–01Asperger's Syndrome40,000
2001–02Asperger's Syndrome40,000
2001–02Parental Training46,000
2002–03Parental Training48,000
2002–03Independence and Autism49,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding he has allocated to social service departments to support those with autism and Asperger Syndrome and their carers in each of the last five years. [102931]

Our increased investment in personal social services in England in recent years will benefit people with autism as well as everyone else who needs them. Details are set out in the table. Amounts for specific conditions are not separately identified within allocations to social services departments. Health bodies and local authorities should ensure that the particular health and social care needs of each person with autism and Asperger's Syndrome are met with genuine choices for both clients and families, through the most appropriate community based services, in a cost—effective way.In 1999–2000, we introduced the new children's services grant, whose purpose is to help local authorities implement the Quality Protects programme and in particular to improve the life chances of looked after children and children in need. Disabled children, including those with autism, have been made a priority area in the programme.Since the carers grant was introduced in 1999, it has provided an extra £225 million over four years to increase the number of breaks for carers. In recognition of the importance placed on supporting carers, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health, announced in July 2002 that the grant has been extended for a further three years to 2005–06. During this time it will provide extended care and 130,000 further breaks to carers.Details of the past and proposed future amounts of both grants are shown in the table.

Children's services grant
Financial yearTotal social services expenditure (£ billion)Overall expenditure (£ million)Disabled children's element (£ million)Carer's grant (£ million)