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Carers Rights Day: An additional response from our local MPs

For Carers Rights Day, we invited local MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland to join our online event – responding to questions from carers as part of a dedicated Q&A panel consisting of health and social care experts in Swindon.

Following this successful event, we have received further communication from both our MPs which we’d like to share with you. This detailed response comes following a question raised about the parity of funding for social care with health.

“Thank you for raising the issue of social care and support for care workers. As your local MPs, we absolutely understand the importance of providing dignified care to both young and old.

“With an ageing population, this is one of the biggest challenges our country faces, and we support the Government’s commitment to making sure that the most vulnerable in society gain the support they need.

“Although we are pleased that more than 4 in every 5 people in care receive care from good and outstanding organisations, it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle this serious challenge, crucially by securing a long-term funding solution. We are assured that the Government is determined to tackle this issue head on, with the Prime Minister stating in his first speech as Prime Minister that “we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared, to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve”.

“Since 2015, local authorities have had greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money, as well as retain savings from the New Homes Bonus, totalling £240 million. In the Spending Round in September, an extra £1.5 billion was made available to councils for adult social care services. This funding should be viewed as a significant down payment as we move towards a long-term funding solution.

“Moreover, the Government is considering a range of proposals for social care funding, to help to meet the cost for a reformed social care system.  We are assured that many options are being considered and look forward to participating in further discussion on this issue in the coming months.

“However, we are aware that money alone will not fix the problem: reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. It is vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services, and we are encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services.

“On the issue of children and young people’s care, it is welcome that as at 31 March 2020, 93 per cent of independent fostering agencies and 80 per cent of all private and voluntary children’s homes were judged good or outstanding by Ofsted. However, as stated above, more can always be done and we are pleased that the Government is making this area a priority, with a commitment to an independent-led review of the care system to make sure that all care placements and settings are providing children and young adults with the support they need.

“We understand this review will build on the work already being done to improve the care system. In the past decade, almost £200 million has been invested through the Innovation Programme in projects to enable local authorities to test new approaches to supporting children in the social care system. The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care has also been established to drive improvement in local authority social work.”

Swindon Carers Centre would like to thank our local MPs for joining the event, and for engaging fully with Carers Rights Day.