Skip to main content

Social Care System

Volume 638: debated on Tuesday 20 March 2018

5. What recent assessment he has made of the level of public satisfaction with the social care system. (904464)

Over the last three years, about 65% of social care service users have been extremely or very satisfied with their care and support in England, and 81% of adult social care providers are rated good or outstanding.

Since 2010, Government funding for Liverpool City Council has been cut by 64%, or £444 million in real terms and, given that 90% of properties are in bands A to C, our ability to raise money locally through council tax is at the bottom end of the UK average. We need integrated health and social care, but a departmental name change will not do it; we need the money locally. When will we see proper reform and proper funding to plug the gap in our most deprived areas?

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that the integration of health and social care is vital, and I think that the renaming of the Department is a symbol of how seriously the Government take our commitment to it. I am keen to talk to him about funding, given that the figures for Liverpool show that it is raising £7.4 million from the social care precept and has received approximately £21 million in grant from the Government.

I agree that the social care system needs more funds. In recent Budgets, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has found those funds and put them into the system. May I urge my hon. Friend, as she looks at the Government’s proposals in the Green Paper, to ensure that the Dilnot proposals are included? Those proposals, for which we have already legislated, will give us the best chance of a sustainable system in the current Parliament.

The Secretary of State was with Andrew Dilnot yesterday, and we are looking carefully at his proposals. My right hon. Friend is right: although 81% of adult social care providers are registered as good or outstanding, it is unacceptable for levels of care to fall below the standards that we would expect, and in preparing the Green Paper, we will look closely at how we can improve the system.

19. According to recent polling by the Alzheimer’s Society, public concern about the social care system is growing, and it is clear that action is needed now to fix the crisis. Why will the Government not heed the will of Parliament and commit themselves to closing the social care funding gap, as agreed in the vote on our Opposition day motion last October? (904480)

I do not entirely agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said. We provided an extra £2 billion in last year’s Budget to help councils to commission care services that are sustainable, high-quality and diverse. In the Green Paper, which will be published this summer, we will consider how we can future-proof the system.

The Government inspector for Northamptonshire County Council has recommended that, because of misgovernance over the last five years, the council should be abolished. Will my hon. Friend and her colleagues work with the new successor authorities to ensure that a successful social care system is established in the county?

The Secretary of State has already had conversations with councillors about this matter, but my hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise it. The Care Act 2014 placed a duty on local authorities in England to promote diverse, sustainable, high-quality care, and it is important for them to continue to do that.

The National Audit Office says that our care system is not “sustainably funded”, the Care Quality Commission says that one quarter of care facilities are not safe enough, and care providers cherry-pick to whom they will give care places, and even evict people with advanced dementia on cost grounds. What is the Care Minister doing to address those issues and the sharp decline in public satisfaction with the social care system?

We know that the sector is under pressure because of the ageing population, but the Government have given councils access to £9.4 billion more dedicated funding over three years. The hon. Lady is right to emphasise the importance of putting power back in the hands of residents and their families, which is why we published a package of measures to ensure and protect consumer protections in the social care sector, and we will continue to look at that very closely.