Community Care

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th November 1992.

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Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley The Secretary of State for Health 12:00 am, 10th November 1992

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood the position. On the day that I announced the ring-fenced money, my understanding was that, only the day before, the hon. Gentleman had said that no news on money would be available until at least the end of October or the beginning of November. We have fairly discharged that responsibility.

As ever, the hon. Gentleman, who is sponsored by the National Union of Public Employees, thinks always of the public sector providers and not of the voluntary and private sectors. We have made it clear that money must be spent by the independent providers if we are to safeguard choice. Choice always means very little to the Labour party. [Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman cares to listen, I am able to inform him, and others, that after consultations with local authorities we are amending the requirement relating to the percentage to be provided by the independent sector. That will now be 85 per cent. of the transfer element, but the additional 35 per cent. over and above social security money will be distributed normally and can be used in the way that local authorities choose.