I believe we must all receive dignified care in old age. With an ageing population, this is one of the biggest challenges our country faces. I support the Government’s commitment to making sure that the most vulnerable in society gain the support they need. While it is important to note that over 4 out of 5 people receive care from good and outstanding organisations, it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle this serious challenge.
The Government is currently producing a Social Care Green Paper, which will consider a range of options to ensure our social care system is able to meet the needs of our ageing society and is placed on a sustainable footing for the long term. Since 2015 local authorities have had greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money, as well as retain savings from the New Homes Bonus, totalling £240 million.
In October, an extra £240 million funding was announced for adult social care this winter to help local authorities reduce pressures on the NHS. The recent Budget also announced an additional £650 million for social care in 2019-20 including: £240 million to make sure people can leave hospital when they are ready and go into the right care setting to meet their needs; as well as £410 million to improve local councils care offer for older people, people with disabilities and children. In total, the Government has given councils access to up to £10.29 billion more dedicated funding for social care over the three years up to 2019-20.
Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. It is vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services, and I am encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services.