There are around 676,000 people in England living with dementia and this figure is expected to double by 2040. As researchers work to find a cure, we should place an equal emphasis on the care provided to people living with dementia and the support provided to their families and carers.
I am concerned that, after nine years of cuts to council budgets, £7.7 billion has been taken out of social care leaving services at breaking point. Councils are having to make difficult decisions about who receives care, and too many people are left to cope without the support they need.
In March 2017, the Government said it would publish a green paper on social care to ensure the system is sustainable in the long-term. However, more than two years later and after several delays, Ministers have still not given a date for when it will be published. This is completely unacceptable when there is no suitable provisions in place for those living with dementia. In the meantime, analysis from the Alzheimer’s Society reveals that people living with dementia have spent almost £15 billion of their own money on social care since March 2017, compared to less than £10 billion by the Government.
I support a long-term and sustainable funding solution for social care, which includes investing £8 billion to provide more people with the support they need. As part of a wider commitment to establish a National Care Service, I also support introducing free personal care for all older people. This would more than double the number of people receiving state-funded care and stop people with dementia being treated unfairly by the care system by ensuring they receive the same care as those with other conditions.
A new National Care Service would also raise standards of care by ending the use of zero-hour contracts, ensure that carers are paid a real living wage, end 15-minute care visits, and improve access to training and development for care staff.
I will continue to press the Government to provide the much-needed investment for social care to give people with dementia the support they need.