Through the social care precept, the spring Budget last year and the recent local government finance settlement, councils will have access to £9.4 billion in dedicated funding for adult social care over the three years 2017 to 2020.
May I associate myself with your kind words on the sad passing of Michael Martin, Mr Speaker?
Does the Minister believe it is economically viable for councils to continue to use what little reserves they have left in the delivery of adult social care in their area?
I gently remind the hon. Gentleman of my earlier answer, which was that council reserves are some £20 billion across the country and are actually higher today than they were when we came into office. Councils will be able to increase spending on social care in real terms every year up to the end of this Parliament, and we are already seeing the results in action: delayed transfers of care are down by 34% in England. This is a Government who are delivering for people across the country.
Of the 575 beds in Kettering General Hospital, about 200 are occupied by patients, many of them elderly, who have completed their treatment but await transfer to social and other care. What can be done when the local county council simply is not up to the job of making sure that social care assessments are done in a timely way?
I am sure my hon. Friend will forgive me for not being drawn on Northamptonshire specifically, given the circumstances there and the decision to be made. In general, he is absolutely right to highlight the importance of getting people swiftly transferred to appropriate social care. That has been a focus of the funding that the Government have put in, and the better care fund is ensuring that joined-up care is happening. As I have said, delayed transfers of care are down by almost a third in the past year.
May I ask the Minister how many local authorities his Department believes are close to not being able to carry out their statutory responsibilities for adult social care?