Local Government and Social Care Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:11 pm on 24th April 2019.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons) 5:11 pm, 24th April 2019

I am deeply concerned about the future—or lack of a future—of the transforming care programme. One of the problems is that it is often NHS England that is funding care in an institution, and when a local authority is under financial stress, there is not much of an incentive to take that person out of the institution and make them the responsibility of the local authority. There has to be a way of funding the building of infrastructure to support people in the community. That is what has failed to happen so far.

This is not a static issue that we face. There is growing pressure. We are all living longer, often with chronic conditions that in the past used to kill us. That is a great triumph of man and womankind, but there is a cost attached, yet we have no mechanism to address the increasing funding needs of social care and, in particular, dementia.

Vicky Ford, one of the valued members of the Science and Technology Committee, made the point that the cost to society of dementia is about £26 billion every year, but that is going to rise dramatically. Whatever we say about spending money efficiently—I completely agree about the need to spend money efficiently and to innovate and do things in a more effective way—the dramatic rise in demand inevitably means that we will have to spend more as a society on supporting people with dementia and on research to find cures for dementia.