The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1979-1983 Parliament

Mr Major’s Written Question on Old People’s Housing – 19 December 1979

Below is the text of Mr Major’s Parliamentary written question on Old People’s Housing, published on 19th December 1979.

Mr. Major Asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will change the housing cost yardstick allowances and standards for old people’s housing so as to enable public authorities to provide separate bedrooms in one-person dwellings.

Mr. Stanley The present housing cost yardstick allowances for old people’s housing assume that single person dwellings will be provided with bed-sitting rooms rather than a separate bedroom and living-room.

Increasingly and understandably, however, single elderly people are reluctant to move into accommodation without a separate bedroom, even though they may want to leave family-sized accommodation which has become too unmanageable or too costly for them.

Many authorities, therefore, would like to provide separate bedrooms in such cases. But because there is no yardstick allowance for providing separate bedrooms in dwellings specifically designed for single people, the only way they can do this is by building dwellings to the two-person standards and letting them to single people.

This is clearly unsatisfactory. I am therefore introducing new yardstick allowances for single-person old people’s dwellings in which the authority provides a separate bedroom.

Full details of the allowances will be sent to local authorities early in the new year. The essentials are as follows: “Category 1 (self-contained) dwellings: £700 per dwelling”. “Category 2 (grouped flatlet) dwellings: – schemes for less than 20 old people – £2,300 per each one-person flatlet”. “ – schemes for 20 or more old people – £12,000 per scheme plus £1,700 per each one-person flatlet”.

An overall area of 34 square metres will normally be appropriate for such dwellings.

The additional allowances will be available for all relevant schemes for which authorities formally accept tenders on or after 2 January 1980. In the case of schemes for which a yardstick has already been determined but a tender not yet accepted, my Department will be prepared on application by the authority, to re-determine the yardstick accordingly.

Authorities will remain free to provide single person dwellings with bed-sitting rooms if they so wish. The changes I am now making do not affect the allowances available in these cases.