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

As ever, my hon. Friend is extremely well informed and authoritative on these issues. The Select Committee took the view over many years that the money should be ring-fenced. We gave an undertaking not only that it would be available and be seen to be fair but that it would be transparent. Local authorities are now in a good position to take forward that policy.

My hon. Friend is also absolutely right about income support. At present, it is spent entirely in the voluntary and private sectors. That is why today's announcement is important: that 85 per cent. of the money that comes over from social security will be spent in the independent sector. However, the 35 per cent., over and above, will be spent in the way that the local authority wishes.

I think that the Labour party has singularly failed to understand the significance of what I am saying. The announcement means that a lesser, not a greater, percentage of the total amount for community care is to be spent in the independent sector. It is only the transferred money, not the 35 per cent. additional money, that is involved. I suggest that the Labour party should try to understand the policy a little better.