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Social Care - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:12 pm on 7th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 2:12 pm, 7th December 2017

I thank the noble Baroness for her response and her questions; I will deal with them in order.

First, she asked about funding. She is quite right to point out the £2 billion of extra funding that was announced in the March Budget; of course, we have had two Budgets this year, so extra funding was included in a Budget this year. I should also point out that that was the latest tranche of additional funding, which totals over £9 billion over three years, taking into account the additional funding announced in recent financial Statements. The precise purpose of the funding is to address the fact that we have a growing and ageing population. The number of people requiring care packages is rising, and often the complexity of those packages is becoming more acute—hence the need for more funding, as we all recognise.

Experts will be fully engaged in the Green Paper, providing advice to Ministers and supporting engagement. There is no point in having such an august group and not drawing on their expertise. I do not think that there is any contradiction in the way that I have described their role. We would not want to involve those people—and they would not want to be involved—if they were not going to be listened to.

On carers, I acknowledge the delay in the carers strategy and I understand that that must be frustrating for those who have invested so much time in it. I have two things to say in response. First, it is right that the position of carers is considered in the round, with care costs. Secondly, that is why the action plan is important: it provides a staging post between now and the intention to introduce fully fledged policy proposals in due course. I am afraid that I do not have a specific date or a funding package for that, but I will write to the noble Baroness with as much detail as I can find and place a copy in the Library.