Everyone deserves dignified care in their old age. As our country’s population becomes older, providing care will become one of the greatest challenges we face. I wholeheartedly support the Government’s commitment of ensuring those most vulnerable in our society can access to the support and care they need. Whilst more than 4 out of every 5 people in care receive care from ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ organisations, it is apparent more needs to be done to ensure everyone does, crucially, by securing a long-term funding solution. I am delighted that the Prime Minister has spoken of his determination to tackle this, stating in his first speech as Prime Minister that “we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared, to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve”.
Since 2015 local authorities have had greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money, as well as retain savings from the New Homes Bonus, which totals £240 million. In the Spending Round in September, an extra £1.5 billion was made available to councils for adult social care services. This funding should be viewed as a significant down payment as we move towards a long-term funding solution.
Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. It is crucial that policies are introduced that join up health and care services , and I am encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of the integration of health and care services.
In the 2019 Conservative Manifesto, on which I was proud to stand, it was made clear that we must build the same level of consensus on social care that we have already built on the NHS, across political parties, so that an answer can be brought forward that solves the problem for future generations. I stand by this commitment, and urge my colleagues and constituents, regardless of their political beliefs, to take part in a conversation about establishing a care system fit for the 21st century.