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MPs urge May to do cross-party social care funding deal

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The chairs of three Commons select committees have called on the prime minister to develop a cross-party consensus on the long-term funding of health and social care.

The Local Government Association said council leaders must be part of this process.

In a letter to Theresa May, the chairs of the health, public accounts and communities and local government committees said a cross-party approach was essential as “given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever party is in government over the coming decades”.

They added: “We also feel that the ongoing separation of health and social care is creating difficulties for individuals and avoidable barriers and inefficiencies. Any review should cover the two systems.”

Signatories of the letter are the Conservative chair of the health committee Sarah Wollaston, and the Labour chairs of the public accounts and communities committees, respectively Meg Hillier and Clive Betts.

LGA community wellbeing board chair Izzi Seccombe (Con) said: “We completely support the select committees in urging the prime minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding.

“Following last month’s Local Government Finance Settlement, we said there needed to be an urgent and fundamental review of social care before the spring budget, and we are pleased the select committees back this.

“But it is absolutely vital that local government leaders, who are responsible for social care in their local community, are part of that review.”

The LGA has estimated a £2.6bn funding gap faces adult social care, split equally between money needed to stabilise the provider market, and that required to meet additional pressures from an ageing population, inflation, and the National Living Wage.

Chris Ham, chief executive of health policy think tank The King’s Fund, said: “A new settlement for health and social care is long overdue.

“In particular, there needs to be a single, ring-fenced budget for the NHS and social care, paid for through increased public funding. For too long there has been a lack of political leadership on these issues.”

A government spokesperson said: “This government has gone further to integrate health and social care than any other before it. We have brought budgets together for the first time through the Better Care Fund and given the NHS an extra £10bn per year by 2020-21 to fund its own plan to build a more responsive, modern health system.

“But as the prime minister has made clear, this is not solely about money. That is why we are working to find a long-term, sustainable solution which helps local authorities learn from each other to raise standards across the whole system.”


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