Health and Social Care

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:06 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 12:06 pm, 16th January 2020

It is a serious point, and I am grateful for the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has put it. Of course, we are very happy to engage. My hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South, who sits in the shadow Cabinet and leads on social care, is happy to sit down with Ministers at any point.

I am suggesting to the Secretary of State, rather gently, that there is a degree of political consensus on free adult personal social care. The House of Lords Committee, which includes Michael Forsyth and Norman Lamont, not socialists red in tooth and claw by any means, alongside Alistair Darling, has proposed it. We, as a Front-Bench team, have proposed it. There are forms of it in some of the devolved nations. It is the Secretary of State who is standing outside that consensus. If he wants to engage with us on those terms, and on the point about a cap as proposed by Dilnot, then of course we are prepared to have those levels of engagement.

There is also a degree of consensus around the need for better integration between health and social care, and better co-ordination of health and social care. That is why we are intrigued by the Secretary of State’s proposal to consult on the NHS Funding Bill.