Below is Sir Oliver's Written Parliamentary Question to the Health Department on the subject of funding for carers, and the reply he recieved.
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if his Department will maintain its funding for carers; and if he will make a statement.
A: Spending on social care is a local decision made by individual councils. There is no specific Departmental grant relating to carers and as such funding for carer support is ultimately a local decision. There are however a number of legal duties and non-ring-fenced monies specifically earmarked for carer support that set expectations, as set out below.
This year, the Better Care Fund will provide £5.3 billion of investment in better integrated care, based on joint plans that have been developed locally and putting resources where the local National Health Service and social services think it is needed. Social care protection is a national condition of the Better Care Fund – no plan has been approved without clear proof of this. The plans also set out how much will be spent collectively on carer-specific services.
Under the Care Act, local authorities have a duty to assess carers and meet their eligible needs for support, putting them on an equal footing with the people they care for. Local authorities will also be able to meet needs which are not considered eligible. The Department of Health has provided £104 million of funding to local authorities for these rights in 2015/16. The majority of funding for implementation of these and other rights under the Care Act will be in the Better Care Fund (with some coming from a separate grant).
The Department of Health has also made available additional funding of £400 million to the NHS between 2011 and 2015 to enable carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities to sustain them in their caring role. The carers’ breaks funding of £130 million for 2015 – 16 will also be in the Better Care Fund.
The Department for Education has also separately provided £800 million funding to local authorities to fund short breaks for disabled children and their families.
Funding for adult social care from 2016/17 onwards will be decided at this year’s spending review.