Local Government and Social Care Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 24th April 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Co-National Campaign Coordinator, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 1:40 pm, 24th April 2019

I will give way shortly, but I want to deal briefly with the issue of social care before I begin my concluding remarks.

The largest of the pressures on services remains the pressure on adult and children’s social care. According to the Local Government Association, adult social care services face a £1.5 billion funding gap next year, and £2 billion is needed for children’s services.

Given that the Cabinet are too interested in internal machinations, and given the absence of any leadership from the Prime Minister, we have yet to see the much promised social care Green Paper. In fact, this year’s April Fool revealed himself to be the Health Secretary after he missed his own new deadline of 1 April for the Green Paper—but no one was laughing, because that was the fifth missed deadline, following the summer of 2017, the end of 2017, the summer of 2018, and the autumn of 2018. Despite those delays, it seems that little progress has been made.

There is so much concern in the sector that last month 15 key organisations—including the LGA, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, and NHS organisations and charities—were forced to write to the Government expressing their concern that Brexit was becoming a distraction from any action to deal with the real crisis that is affecting the services on which people rely.