As part of the Ministry’s oversight of local government, we consider the financial stability and service delivery of individual authorities, liaising with the Department of Health and Social Care on adult social care. On that basis, we have no immediate concerns about the ability of local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties.
Wow! I am shocked by that response. This year’s precept of 1% raises only 0.8% of our total adult social care budget in the Borough of Rochdale. With nursing home beds being converted into residential beds because of providers’ difficulties in recruiting and retaining nurses, how does the Minister suggest that my local authority provides the nursing home beds that my constituents so desperately need?
This Government have increased funding for social care across the country. Rather than talking down the hon. Lady’s constituency and local authority, I point out that Rochdale’s performance in reducing delayed transfers of care is among the best in the country and deserves praise, rather than being talked down.
This weekend we heard the announcement of additional funding for the NHS, but there was no mention of funding to resolve the issues in social care as part of that package. What discussions were there with the Secretary of State about the future funding of social care in advance of that announcement?
This Government want to guarantee the security and dignity of people in old age and are absolutely committed to providing a long-term sustainable settlement on social care, on which the hon. Lady will know the Health Secretary is working. He will bring forward plans in due course.
Some 1.2 million older people in England are living with unmet care needs, according to Age UK. More than 400,000 fewer people are receiving publicly funded social care than in 2010. Council spending on adult social care fell by 10% in real terms between 2010 and 2015. A miserly £150 million in funding was announced for 2018-19 in the local government finance settlement, and now we hear that there is no funding for social care in yesterday’s NHS announcement. With social care in crisis, putting pressure on the NHS and sending councils across England towards bankruptcy, when is this Minister going to do his job and secure the resources that our councils need to give the elderly the dignity they so desperately deserve?
This Government are already responding to the pressures in social care, which is why we announced £2 billion in last year’s Budget for local authorities up and down the country. That represents a real-terms increase every year from last year to next year in social care spending, and we are seeing it translate into action on the ground, with a 40% reduction in social care delayed transfers of care just last month.