• Adult Social Care and MS

    01 November 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about adult social care.
    I believe that it is important to ensure that as people receive dignified care in old age. This is one of the biggest challenges our country faces, with an ageing population. I support the Government's commitment to making sure this country works for everyone and that the most vulnerable in society gain the support they need.
    I know that the Government recognises the current pressures facing local areas. 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 for adult social care.  Local authorities have greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money as well as retaining savings from the New Homes Bonus, totalling £240 million.
    There will be further support, with the Chancellor's recent announcement of an additional £2 billion to councils in England over the next three years to spend on adult social care services. I am encouraged that £1 billion will be provided in 2017-18, to enable immediate action. Since 2015, councils will have access in total to £9.25 billion more dedicated funding for social care over the next three years.
    Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. Some councils already provide high quality social care within their existing budgets, showing that reform can be achieved and half of all delayed discharges from hospital to home arise in just 24 local authorities.
    Following the election, the Government will consult on all options for future social care. I welcome this development, as the consultation will investigate options to create a fair, sustainable, and accessible social care system. I acknowledge that there have been many consultations into care policy over the years; however I am encouraged that the Government believes that the upcoming consultation will usher in a real cultural change into how we tackle the issues of an aging population as a society.
    I appreciate that those suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) may require specific long-term social care needs, and I believe it is essential that any social care system sensitively considers those suffering from MS. Those suffering from long term conditions such as MS may be eligible for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The PIP is designed to offer claimants the correct level of care for their needs, which focuses on an individual's ability to carry out key every day activities, and this system includes regular reviews so those suffering from long-term conditions are appropriately supported by the care and welfare system. Alternatively, those with MS may be eligible for direct payments for care from their local authority, which contribute to the funding of care, and paying for carers.
    It must be noted that MS is a spectrum condition, and a blanket approach to MS and social care cannot be appropriately applied. Therefore, as well as providing effective support for those with MS, I believe it is right that the Department of Health works in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions to assist those with MS find effective employment and independence, appropriate for their condition. You may be pleased to know that the Government has recently completed a consultation entitled 'Work, health and disability green paper: improving lives', which intends to help those with long term health conditions into well-supported employment, where appropriate, and improve their health.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General