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Social Care Funding

Volume 622: debated on Tuesday 28 February 2017

9. What discussions his Department has had with the Department for Communities and Local Government on the potential effect on the economy of the level of social care funding. (908956)

The Treasury regularly discusses social care funding with the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government. We have introduced a new social care precept and additional grant funding for social care. Taken together, those provide an additional £7.6 billion of dedicated funding for social care over the four years of the current settlement. That means that councils can afford to increase spending on social care every year.

The lack of funding for social care is having a devastating impact on people requiring care, carers and workers themselves. The 3% levy raises only £2.8 million for Rochdale. That does not even cover the cost of increasing the minimum wage for care workers. Does the Minister accept that?

As I say, it is not just about the council tax precept. We also have the better care fund coming in. We should also accept that this is not just about money. There is very variable performance around the country. It is worth pointing out that 50% of the delayed discharges attributed to social care take place in only 24 local authority areas.

Some areas, including the island, have taken the difficult decision to increase council tax by 3% to protect social care. Would the Chief Secretary to the Treasury consider finding ways of ensuring that councils have done all that they can to help themselves as well as ensuring that any Government support is made available now?

My hon. Friend raises an important point. There is a considerable amount of discretion for local authorities in regard to how much they want to prioritise social care, and the Government have given them greater flexibility in relation to the council tax precept.