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Social Care

Volume 607: debated on Monday 21 March 2016

We have provided up to £3.5 billion of funding to meet the demographic pressures on social care. That is significantly more than the £2.9 billion the Local Government Association estimated was needed.

Yet the Budget reveals a black hole of £4.3 billion for social care alone. Why are the Government prioritising giving tax cuts to the wealthiest while refusing to make sure there is decent social care for our elderly and disabled people?

During the spending review process, we listened extremely carefully to local government, which explained that social care was a priority. We responded by providing local authorities with up to £3.5 billion, which was in excess of the £2.9 billion that was asked for. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that extra support, and in particular the additional precept for adult social care.

What recent discussions have taken place between the Minister’s Department and the Department of Health about the integration of health and social care?

I assure the hon. Lady that we have significant and ongoing discussions with the Department of Health on this important area. We both share the same outlook. We want to fully integrate health and social care by the end of the decade, and we are setting out to do that through close dialogue between each Department.

Age UK reports that 300,000 elderly people are suffering from chronic loneliness, which leads to early death. The cuts imposed by, and inaction from, the Department for Communities and Local Government are letting our elderly people die. Is the Minister proud of that?

We are doing significant work to support social care. We have put in place the precept for social care, which has allowed councils to raise up to an additional £2 billion. We have also put in place an additional £1.5 billion for the better care fund, and we are absolutely committed to working with the NHS to make sure that health and social care are integrated properly. Part of that integration involves making sure that the issues the hon. Lady mentions are dealt with properly, and I can assure her that that is happening.