David Mowat: Today is not the day on which to announce a royal commission on the funding of care in the future, but I do agree that it is important that we put care funding on to a better structural footing for the future. The right hon. Gentleman is right to say that.
David Mowat: The STP for Somerset is excellent in that regard and my hon. Friend is right to raise it. She is also right to emphasise again the integration of health and social care, which is the holy grail of this. Those councils and health systems that do it best are making a huge difference.
David Mowat: The hon. Gentleman is right that there have been changes to the funding regime, but councils such as Knowsley and St Helens have virtually no delayed transfers of care and they have the same budget issues as his council.
David Mowat: I said in my answer to the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) that this is not a spending statement or a statement on the local government settlement, so I will just leave it at that.
David Mowat: I have acknowledged that the system is under pressure, but I have also acknowledged that different councils respond to that pressure in different ways. For example, Leicester City Council has increased its adult social care budget for next year—2016-17—by 7% in real terms.
David Mowat: Yes, there is disparity—still—in the marketplace and between local authorities, and we need to do everything we can, working with the CQC, to ensure that it is eliminated.
David Mowat: I am tempted just to say, “No, I don’t acknowledge that,” but I make the point again that I am not complacent. We understand that the system is under pressure, and we acknowledge and accept that. That is not the same as saying that there are not things that we can do in terms of quality provision to manage better, and that is what we are trying to do.
David Mowat: The better care fund is predicated on the assumption that we will drive that integration. I also make the point that not just Leicester, for example, but many councils right across the country—something like 40%—have increased, and will increase, their social care budget in real terms next year.
David Mowat: The spending review increased the precept by 2%—that is what we brought in at that time. As I said earlier, this is not the local government settlement, and I have nothing to say on council tax.
David Mowat: My hon. Friend is right that this whole system is more important than politics: there is nothing more important to more people—and more old people in terms of the dignity and quality of their lives—than getting this right, and it is essential that we do that.
David Mowat: It is not my role to lecture Liverpool City Council on how to deliver adult social care. I make the point, though, that Knowsley and St Helens, which are very close to Liverpool, have virtually no delayed transfers of care, and so possibly some best-practice sharing would be in order.
David Mowat: I have made the point already, and I will make it again, that we acknowledge that the precept is uneven in the way that it was announced in the spending review. That is why the additional better care fund component is allocated on a basis that remedies that.
David Mowat: In terms of quality in Buckinghamshire and Birmingham, we look at the CQC reports right across the system, and we are not finding a geographic variation based on those sorts of statistics. That is just the fact of the matter.
David Mowat: In terms of council tax increases, this is not about the local government settlement that has already been announced. The additional better care fund will start to deliver more money from next April, and will deliver more money after that. During the course of this Parliament, there will be a 5% increase, in real terms, in money spent on adult social care.
David Mowat: This year, 42% of councils are increasing their adult social care funding in real terms. The discrepancy caused by the precept is addressed by the way in which we allocate the additional better care fund component and the formula that is used for that.
David Mowat: I am not giving the autumn statement, but I will say again that there is a 5% increase in real terms in adult social care funding during this Parliament, and that 42% of councils are increasing the budget in real terms this year.
David Mowat: Cities do have issues with delivering social care, but so do rural areas, which quite often have a very high proportion of older people. That, in itself, can absorb a great deal of cost. The truth is that, as I have acknowledged, the whole system is under pressure, including in Bristol. We acknowledge that, and we are increasing the total spend by 5% during this Parliament.
David Mowat: That was a decision made by Cambridgeshire County Council, and a number of other councils, such as Hammersmith and Fulham, made the same choice not to increase the precept. Presumably, they did not feel as though they needed to use that money for adult social care. That is a choice that those councils have, and it is a choice that they must take to their voters.
David Mowat: I am not aware of the specific issue that the hon. Lady has raised about the respite care centre in Sheffield that is on the point of closure, and I would be happy to discuss that with her so that I understand it better. I can only repeat that today is not the day that we are going to announce a royal commission into funding.
David Mowat: There is an issue with that, and that issue exists in various parts of the country. We acknowledge it and we need to manage it. We also need to manage the total number of beds in the system and the total number of domiciliary providers in the system. The total number of beds, as I said earlier, is the same now as it was six years ago. The total number of domiciliary providers is around 40% higher.