I believe that we must all receive dignified care in old age. With an ageing population, this is one of the biggest challenges that our country faces. I stand by the Government’s commitment to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are given the support that they need. While it is important to note that more than four of every five people in care are looked after by good and outstanding organisations, more needs to be done to tackle this serious challenge, crucially by securing a long term funding solution. I’m 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”.
At the Spending Review in November 2020, local authorities were enabled to access over £1 billion of spending for social care, through £300 million of social care grant, and the ability to levy a three per cent adult social care precept. This is in addition to the £1 billion social care grant announced during 2019, and the £3 billion provided to local authorities to address COVID-19 pressures, including in adult social care. I know that this Government is committed to sustainable improvement of the adult social care system.
Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. It is vital for us to consider ways of encouraging collaboration between health and care services, such as the Better Care Fund which assists local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated services.
In the Conservative Manifesto, on which I was proud to stand, we set out our aim to 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, commands the widest possible support, and stands the test of time. I firmly support the renewed commitment in the Queen's Speech to bring forward proposals to reform social care during this Parliament, and eagerly anticipate taking part in a conversation about establishing a care system fit for the 21st century.