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Petitions

Volume 517: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2010

Petitions

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Observations

Health

Archway Centre (Walsall)

The Petition of friends and users of the Archway Centre, Walsall,

Declares that the Petitioners object to the cutting by Re-think of funds and resources at the Archway Centre, Walsall, which has already led to the closure of food services at the centre—a vital service for many users who find it difficult to cook for themselves; notes that the Petitioners believe that the intention is to reduce the number of drop in sessions and to send service users out into the community, but the community is not qualified and does not have the facilities to deal with people who have mental health problems; and further notes that cuts to the funding of the Archway Centre may lead to more people relying on the services of the mental health team in Walsall and an increase in admissions to Dorothy Pattison Hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to take all possible steps to ensure that the Archway Centre, Walsall, receives adequate funding.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Valerie Vaz, Official Report, 12 October 2010; Vol. 516, c. 302.]

[P000864]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

The issues raised in the petition are local matters and my Department will bring these issues to the attention of NHS West Midlands.

I am advised that NHS Walsall and Walsall Council have been reviewing jointly commissioned local mental health day services. Following consultation on proposed changes, a report was presented to the Walsall Social Care and Inclusion Scrutiny and Performance Panel on 7 October 2010. The Scrutiny Panel was satisfied that due process had been carried out and accepted the recommendations of the report.

Justice

Islamic Burial Space

The Petition of the people of Croydon and South London,

Declares that there is a severe shortage of burial space for the Islamic community the Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take steps to secure such burial space

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Andrew Pelling, Official Report, 23 February 2010; Vol. 506, c. 270.]

[P000738]

Observations from the Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice:

The Government understand the importance for Muslim communities, as for many others, of having local, affordable, burial space for their use. The Government also recognise that there may be shortages of burial space in some areas, particularly in the larger conurbations.

It is a function of local communities to provide the burial space they need, either through the local council as a burial authority, or by local private, religious or charitable organisations. Such bodies are best placed to determine demand for burial space, and where and how such space may best be provided, having regard to any special requirements for particular religious or other local communities, and competing demands for available land. There are many fine examples of cemetery provision throughout London, either serving particular local communities as a whole or dedicated for use by particular faiths. A number of sites have been developed in recent years, including for use by the Muslim community. The Government have no plans to alter such arrangements.

As far as Croydon and south London are concerned, the Government understand that the London Borough of Croydon is considering the provision of additional burial space for its residents, and in doing so has consulted widely with interested organisations including representatives from the Muslim community. It is for Croydon Council to decide how it wishes to proceed, but it appears that it has the needs of the Muslim community in mind. However, any other organisation may also seek to provide burial space for the community as a whole, or specific sectors within it, subject to planning permission in the usual way.