The Minister of Care has defended delays to the Social Care Green Paper and suggestions that the government has created a “postcode lottery” on the quality of care that residents face.
Facing questions from fellow MPs in the House of Commons yesterday,
Caroline Dinenage said the current government was the first to tackle the “thorny issue” of the long-term funding of adult social care, while previous governments “failed to get to grips with it”.
She said the government will no longer put the issue in the “too difficult pile” and will be publishing the green paper “shortly”.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons last month that he plans to publish the green paper “before April”.
The document was initially supposed to be published last summer, before being delayed until the autumn, to coincide with the NHS long-term plan.
Then in December, it was announced that its release would be delayed until the New Year.
During the Parliamentary session, Kate Hollern, Shadow Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, asked Dinenage to respond to “her failings” with regards to government cuts and the impact on social care.
She argued that the government has created a “postcode lottery” on the quality of care that residents face, particularly in Blackburn, which has faced a 60% funding cut, compared to Windsor’s 19% cut.
A study by Key, an independent equality release adviser, recently found that people in some areas of the country are six times more likely to be fully-funded for social care.
Responding to the question, Dinenage said the government has tackled the geographical inequalities in care across the country.
“We have increased councils’ access to funding by up to £10 billion. That is a 9% real-terms increase in funding, but in addition to that, we have established a national threshold that defines the care needs that local authorities must meet under the Care Act. That has really started the work of eliminating the eligibility postcode lottery across England.”