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COMMUNITY ALARM SCHEMES TO BE EXTENDED

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Elderly and vulnerable people could benefit from increased help and security under government proposals announced b...
Elderly and vulnerable people could benefit from increased help and security under government proposals announced by the local government minister David Curry.

A consultation paper 'Local Authorities and Community Alarm Schemes' examines ways in which councils could extend the community alarm schemes they provide for their tenants to the wider community.

In answer to a parliamentary question yesterday Mr Curry said:

'Community alarm schemes have become an increasingly common way to help vulnerable people to feel more secure in their own homes. Such schemes enable people in distress to summon assistance quickly and can be used to help the elderly to remain in their own homes, or support disabled people living in sheltered housing. They can also be useful in tackling crimes such as repeat burglary, domestic violence or racial harassment.

'In the light of concerns that have been expressed, in particular by the Audit Commission and the Association of District Councils, about the statutory basis on which local authorities may operate such schemes the government has examined the subject closely.

'We have today published a consultation paper - entitled 'Local Authorities and Community Alarm Schemes' - which examines the present statutory framework and outlines the government's preliminary view that local authorities' role in the provision of community alarms should be extended to allow them to provide, and charge for, this service to anyone resident in their area. If the government were to conclude in the light of comments that this wider role should be given to local authorities, its intention would be to legislate to this effect at the next convenient opportunity.'

Copies of the consultation paper are being sent to the local authority associations, individual local authorities and other interested parties, all of whom are being invited to respond by 16 January 1997.'

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