The Alzheimer’s Society does important work on behalf of people living with dementia. It has supported the development of hundreds of dementia-friendly communities across England and is leading investment in research to improve care, advance prevention and move closer to achieving the goal of a world without dementia.
I have undertaken Dementia Friendly training and my offices are accessible to everyone. I believe we should place equal emphasis on the care provided to people living with dementia and the support provided to their families and carers. Improving the quality of social care is a vital part of providing dignity and support for people living with a long-term condition.
I share the concerns of the Alzheimer’s Society that the government is neglecting social care and that people with dementia will feel betrayed and abandoned as a result. The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget offered no additional funding to support social care services and in December the government confirmed that it will not implement its plans for a cap on personal contributions to lifetime care costs. £6.3 billion has been cut from adult social care since 2010 and there are now 400,000 fewer people receiving publicly-funded social care.
We need a new National Care Service, built alongside the NHS, to move quickly towards a joined-up system that responds to the health and care needs of the population. I am also committed to ensuring that people do not have to pay high care costs, as is too often the case with the current system.
At the 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto with a commitment to invest an additional £8 billion in social care budgets across this Parliament to ease the care crisis, including an extra £1 billion in the first year. This additional funding would have meant offering some extra packages of care which were publicly-funded.
During a debate in the House of Commons on April 25, MPs were unanimous in calling on the government to meet the funding gap for social care for this year and for the rest of this Parliament.
I will press Ministers at every opportunity to come forward with a long-term and sustainable funding solution for social care.