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Points of Order

Volume 626: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On Monday evening, the Secretary of State for Health published a written ministerial statement suggesting that local authority access to the £2 billion funding for social care announced in the spring Budget will now be dependent on performance against targets for delayed transfer of care, meaning that some councils could lose funding which they have already planned to spend this year. Today, the Local Government Association has announced it has been left with

“no choice but to withdraw”

its support for the guidance on better care funding. Social care is already in crisis and this can only make things worse, so have you had any indication from the Health Secretary as to whether he intends to come to the House to make a statement on where this leaves funding for social care and to give hon. Members the chance to ask questions on this matter?

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order, to which the short answer is that I have received no indication of any intention by a Minister to come to the House to make a statement on that matter. I am very conscious of the importance that the hon. Lady and probably others attach to it, and of the evident urgency that she attaches to the subject. She is an experienced Member of the House, and as we approach the summer recess, I rather imagine that she will diligently keep an eye on the subject. If she is dissatisfied with what is said, or with the absence of anything being said, she knows that there are options available to her to secure the attention of and a comment by the relevant Minister.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will be aware that in this new Parliament and the previous one my colleagues and I had, it seems, a partly successful campaign to save Glasgow’s jobcentres from closure. More than an hour ago, I learned in the press about the Department’s plans. Thirty-five minutes ago, the Department’s plans were laid in the House through a written ministerial statement—and that is despite our request for this to be an oral statement so that we could have a full and proper discussion of these matters. Mr Speaker, can you advise me and my colleagues as to how we can get a Minister to that Dispatch Box to ask why there has been no published equality impact assessment and why the consultation responses still have not been published six months later, and so that we can hold the Government to account on the fact that they still want to close seven of our city’s jobcentres?

The short answer is that I am, fortunately, in a position to advise the hon. Gentleman, whom I thank for his point of order. The essence of my advice is to impress upon him the importance of repetition. He has raised the issue now and his representations will have been heard on the Treasury Bench. He is a seasoned habitué of the Chamber and he will know that tomorrow we have business questions. I firmly expect him to be in his place and to be bobbing up and down with great intensity to catch my eye, in order to question the Leader of the House on whether and, if so, when there will be an oral statement on this matter. I look forward to seeing the hon. Gentleman bright eyed and bushy tailed in his seat in the Chamber tomorrow morning.