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Health and Social Care Budgets — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:43 am on 14th March 2017.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health 10:43 am, 14th March 2017

I congratulate you on chairing this substantial debate so efficiently, Mr Bailey. Some 31 colleagues were present—that is a very high turnout for Westminster Hall—of whom 18 spoke, including three distinguished Select Committee Chairs and two Opposition spokesmen. Certainly I have not attended such a significant debate in Westminster Hall, and it reflects our common interest in ensuring that the NHS and social care services in this country provide as high-quality a service to the public as possible.

Virtually all speakers welcomed the developments in last week’s Budget, and I welcome that broad consensus across the Chamber. Only one discordant note was struck—reference was made to a march in the streets of London led by the shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell. That march obviously demonstrated a degree of concern, but it happened before the Budget, which, as I shall touch on, responded to many of the concerns that have been raised.

We all recognise that the NHS faces a significant challenge, given the increasing demand for health services as a consequence of our ageing and growing population, new drugs and treatments, and safer staffing requirements, and that in turn is increasing the pressure on social care services. We know that finances are challenging for both areas, which is why we have ensured that spending on the NHS has increased as a proportion of total Government spending each year since 2010.

We backed the “Five Year Forward View” as part of the spending review in late 2015. That ensured that real-terms NHS funding will increase by £10 billion by 2020-21 compared with the year before the spending review. Some hon. Members said that they wanted to see a plan. We have supported the NHS’s own plan—the “Five Year Forward View”—and announced that we will publish a Green Paper this summer looking at how social care is funded in the long term, which hon. Members have welcomed, so it is churlish to deny that this Government are providing long-term strategic thinking about the way we fund both those services. I remind colleagues that the NHS budget was £98 billion in 2014-15 and will be £119.9 billion in 2020-21. That is a £21.8 billion increase in cash terms, which seems to get lost from time to time in these discussions.

We are almost at the end of the financial year. The NHS received a cash increase of more than £5 billion in 2016-17. That was front-loaded, as NHS chief executive Simon Stevens requested. For the year that starts on 1 April, there will be another significant increase in funding once the mandate is settled. Karin Smyth, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, asked when we will see that document. It has to be published by the end of this month, and I assure her that it will be.

The measures announced last week, which many hon. Members referred to, have three features. I will not go into them in detail, because they have all been covered. Much of the focus has been on the additional £2 billion that we will provide for social care over the next three years, half of which will start to come in next month, when the new financial year begins.

Some hon. Members are aware of the numbers for their areas and some are not, and one colleague came up with a slightly incorrect figure. I will not go through every area, but I applaud the presence of Devon MPs in particular, given the manner in which they have massed themselves with colleagues from across the House. Devon will get a £30.3 million increase in its social care budget over the next three years and will receive half of that in the year that is about to start. My hon. Friend Kevin Hollinrake referred to an £18 million increase for North Yorkshire. I can give him a bit of good news: it will actually be £19.6 million over the next three years. I am grateful to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier, for her support for the Budget measures. Hackney will receive £12.8 million, as she acknowledged. Like many colleagues, she sought a long-term funding settlement.