Thank you very much for your email regarding adult social care.
I firmly believe we all deserve and must receive dignified care in old age. With an ageing population, this is one of the biggest challenges our country faces and I support the Government's commitment to making sure this country works for everyone and that the most vulnerable in society have access to the support they need.
The Government recognises the current pressures facing local areas. 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, totalling £240 million.
In 2017, the Chancellor committed an additional £2 billion to councils in England over three years to spend on adult social care services. £1 billion was provided in 2017-18 for immediate action. Councils will have access in total to £9.25 billion more dedicated funding for social care over the three years from 2015 and this has been further supported by an additional £150 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government this year. I’m also happy to note that the Autumn Budget provided £42 million additional funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant in 2017-18 to enable people with disabilities to stay in their own homes throughout their care. This investment is central to the Government's efforts to reduce delayed transfers of care from the NHS to social care and to free up thousands of hospital beds.
However, money alone won’t fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. Some councils already provide high quality social care within their existing budgets and it’s worth noting that half of all delayed discharges from hospital to home arise in just 24 local authorities. It’s vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services and I’m encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services.
The Government is currently producing a Green Paper which will establish a new social care policy for the future which will meet the challenges of an ageing population and grapple with how to properly integrate health and social care in a way which is financially sustainable. I acknowledge that there have been many consultations into care policy over the years; however I believe that the upcoming Green Paper will usher in a real cultural change into how we care for the elderly and vulnerable.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.