Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May: Get a grip and fund social care properly
Jeremy Corbyn today implored Theresa May to “get a grip” and properly fund social care in England amid mounting concerns the system is at breaking point.
The Labour leader urged the Prime Minister to take heed of warnings from Tory councils, the boss of NHS England and others that social care is facing a financial crisis which needs addressing.
It comes as it emerged ministers will tomorrow announce that local authorities will be allowed to raise council tax bills by 6% over the next two years to help raise cash for social care.
Mr Corbyn dedicated all six of his queries to Mrs May at Prime Minister’s Questions on the issue.
In his final probe, he asked: “Why can’t the Prime Minister listen to those in local government, to the King’s Fund, the NHS Confederation, her own council leaders and recognise this social care crisis forces people to give up work to care for loved ones because there isn’t a system to do it; makes people stay in hospital longer than they should; and leads people into a horrible, isolated life when they should be cared for by all of us through a properly funded social care system.
“Get a grip and fund it properly, please.”
Mrs May argued the Government is putting more money into the system via the social care precept and said the pressures would be addressed tomorrow by Sajid Javid in his local government finance settlement.
She also promised to pursue a "long-term, sustainable system".
“We need to make sure that reform is taking place so we see best practice in terms of integration of health and social care but we also need to make sure we have a longer-term solution to give people the reassurance they need for the future,” she said.
"That is what the Government is working on - there's a short term issue, there's a medium term need and there's a long-term solution we need to find."
She also stood by her assertion that poor management by some councils is contributing to crisis. And she attacked the previous Labour government for “ducking social care”.
“They said in 1997 that they'd sort it in their manifesto, they had a Royal commission in 1999, a Green Paper in 2005, the Wanless report in 2006, in 2007 in the Comprehensive Spending Review they said they'd sort it, in 2009 they had another Green Paper - 13 years and no action whatsoever."
Former chancellor George Osborne previously introduced a social care precept that allows councils to charge up to an extra 2% on council tax bills in order to fund social care services.
Sky News reports the Government is preparing to grant councils the authorisation to raise the precept by more than expected in an effort to ease the pressure on services.
Sources said councils will be allowed to add 3% to council tax bills next year and a further 3% the year after so long as the money is spent on social care.
Yesterday NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens called on the Government to provide “immediate support” to the social care system, as well as a longer-term redesign of services aimed at the elderly.
This was followed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying the NHS and social care system will need “a greater share” of government spending in the future.