Child Abuse

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th May 1991.

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Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Minister of State (Department of Health) 12:00 am, 14th May 1991

I endorse the hon. Gentleman's point about the spirit of co-operation that underlies the implementation of the Act. Because of the resource implications, this year local authorities, in their personal social services standard spending assessments, have seen an increase of 23·5 per cent., which is the biggest increase in money going into social services for 15 years. Moreover, there has been a 40 per cent. increase for social worker training, amounting to £50 million.

I recently hosted a meeting with local authority representatives, social services inspectors and directors of social services and talked about how we could secure the commitment of long-term social workers to the service. We considered manpower, training and deployment issues. Many local authorities could do better in deploying their existing work force. We have more social workers and more of them are well qualified, and we must use them as effectively as we can in implementing this important Act.