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House of Commons Hansard
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10 December 2018
Volume 651
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6. What assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the new grant funding for the delivery of adult social care announced in Budget 2018. [908091]

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21. What assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the new grant funding for the delivery of adult social care announced in Budget 2018. [908110]

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We have listened to the sector’s concerns. The Government will provide an additional £240 million for winter pressures next year, as well as a further £410 million to address pressures in social care.

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I recently met local carers, whose unpaid work for loved ones takes enormous pressures off budgets, but inadequate funding for adult social care is putting additional strains on them. Some gain support from local councils and others from local groups such as Sheffield Carers Centre, but most are invisible. What support is the Department providing to local authorities to identify carers so that they can get the help that they need?

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The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to highlight the valuable work that those carers do in our society, and that should be recognised. It is for individual local authorities to decide how best to support carers in their areas. As the Secretary of State previously said, £650 million of incremental funding for social care was announced in the Budget. That funding could be used to provide support in the way the hon. Gentleman suggests.

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Councils are predicting that an additional £3.6 billion will be needed by 2025, just to maintain current levels of care. Does the Minister think that it is either sensible or economically sustainable that councils are having to use their dwindling reserves to deliver care to people? That is what many of them are doing and what many more will have to do.

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Speaking of reserves, reserves in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and area have actually increased by 40% since 2011. Beyond funding, the delivery of social care is a function of joined-up thinking with the NHS. I was delighted to meet the chief officer for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership in Manchester recently, and I am glad that almost all local authorities agree that our better care fund has improved join working between health and social care.

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Does my hon. Friend agree that the adoption of a German-style social insurance premium, as recommended by the joint inquiry of the Select Committees on Health and on Communities and Local Government, would ease funding pressures on local authorities and ensure that everyone had access to the social care that they needed?

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I thank my hon. Friend and all members of the two Select Committees for their thoughtful and detailed work in this area. I know that my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care are seriously considering all options in advance of the social care Green Paper, and the Committees’ recommendations are very much a part of the those deliberations.

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Social care is characterised by low pay and poor employment conditions, and is heavily dependent on EU labour to meet labour force needs. The Migration Advisory Committee says that only by raising pay in the sector will it be possible to replace EU labour with UK workers. Will the Minister commit to the additional £3 billion of funding that will be needed to do that?

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Immigration matters are obviously for the Home Office, which is shortly to bring out its White Paper. With regard to the funding, as I just said, the Department of Health and Social Care is working on a long-term sustainable funding settlement for social care that we look forward to seeing in due course.