I regret that the information about this local authority service for England is not available centrally. Home help staff increased by an estimated 20 per cent. between 1978 and 1986.
Unfortunately, my question has not been answered. Does the Minister believe that seven-day home care is the most effective way of keeping the severely disabled and the elderly frail in the community? If so, does he accept that local authorities need more resources to implement such a programme, and will he encourage them to do so, instead of answering as he has done today and giving the wrong information for the right question?
I wish to continue to give local authorities, whether in England or Scotland, the general encouragement that the hon. Gentleman seeks. A recent report by the Social Services Inspectorate showed that local authorities are developing old-style home help services into a more modern home care service, which is a sensible development.
Further to the most important topic of seven-days-a-week care, has my right hon. Friend had a chance to see early-day motion 787, and will he join colleagues on this side of the House in congratulating the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett), who recently opened a private nursing home in her constituency? Does that mark a—