Andy Burnham: I agree with the hon. Gentleman, which is why I am not opportunistically opposing the Bill. I have tabled a reasoned amendment to put on the record the very serious concerns people have about funding for local authority care in England, the way the new cap will work and, in particular, the proposed clause on hospital reconfiguration—the Lewisham clause.

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I cannot let those concerns pass without making clear our position on them from the Dispatch Box. That is why we have taken that stand. That is why I am seeking to introduce my remarks in a non-partisan way.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con): Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Andy Burnham: No, Iwant to make some progress.

I described the care system we have in England. Surely we can do better. In the last Parliament, the previous Government began a serious attempt at reform. I give this Government credit for continuing some of that work. The Bill contains many proposals originally put forward in my White Paper “Building the National Care Service”, published in February 2010. What most people will remember from the pre-election period was the clash between the parties on funding solutions, but what they might not have realised is that beneath the rhetoric there was much common ground on other matters. I hope that people will welcome that, just as we welcome some of the measures that are carried forward into the Bill.

First, stronger legal rights and recognition for carers are well overdue. For far too long, informal and family carers have been invisible to the system and taken for granted. That simply cannot go on. If statutory services are to be sustainable in the 21st century, they must learn to value informal care and carers and help them do more to help their loved ones. Secondly, we welcome efforts to simplify the social care system. Better information and advice will make a difference to some people. Unifying social care legislation in line with the recommendations of the Law Commission review initiated under the previous Government is sensible and overdue. Thirdly, the idea of a cap on the overall costs of care that individuals can face establishes the important principle that people should not lose everything they have worked for because of their vulnerability in later life.

I am happy to say that those are all important steps forward that we would not seek to oppose. However, let me be clear—this answers the points raised by Government Members—that this Bill is not equal to the scale and the urgency of the care crisis in England. It fails to implement the Dilnot report and does not provide a lasting solution. It does little or nothing to improve care services now or to reduce the costs of care for most people; in fact, it is likely to make things even worse. That is why we have tabled a reasoned amendment to draw the House’s attention to two major problems with the Government’s approach. First, prioritising funding a cap over and above protecting existing council budgets means that the care system will continue to go backwards and get worse, not better. In short, the Government are promising future help instead of helping people right now. Secondly, the proposed £72,000 cap is not what it seems; it is a care con.

On funding priorities, the Government are failing to face up to the scale of the funding crisis facing councils right now. In the cross-party talks on the Dilnot report, Labour stated a clear principle that the cap and the council baseline must be considered together as equal priorities. That was supported by Andrew Dilnot himself, as the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) may remember, because he was also party to those talks. As a first step, we called on the Government

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to use some of last year’s NHS underspend to tackle the care crisis—and, by extension, to ease pressure on A and E—instead of handing the money back to the Treasury. The Government have not listened to that, and this Bill makes matters worse for local authorities by placing new, unfunded and uncosted burdens on them. The fact that it restricts the eligibility of those in substantial or critical need of support is, in itself, a clear admission on the Government’s part that the support system overall is being scaled back.

Mrs Madeleine Moon (Bridgend) (Lab): I spent 30 years making assessments of people who were in care and addressing the care that they needed, often while working in hospitals to get them discharged. After 30 years, the same problem exists: there is not enough money in local government to pay for the care to get people home early to have the rehabilitation they need at home, with the quality of care to make sure that they do not deteriorate further and end up back in the hospital system. This Bill will not tackle that fundamental underlying problem.

Andy Burnham: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This Bill promises far-off help for people while services are getting worse right now, because the Government have failed to address the crisis in local government’s ability to fund social care.

Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East) (Lab): Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Andy Burnham: I shall in a moment.

What are the direct and practical effects of those cuts to council budgets? First, councils have cut eligibility criteria, so more people are exposed to care charges in a way that they were not before. Secondly, those care charges are now rising above inflation year on year, so more people are exposed to higher charges. This means that they are now more likely to pay right up to the new cap that the Government are introducing. That will not feel like progress to the public, and that is why we are making our reasoned objection to the Bill.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Norman Lamb): I am sure the right hon. Gentleman agrees it is important that we are accurate about these matters. He suggested that the Bill “restricts”—that is the word he used—eligibility for substantial or critical care. Does he accept that it does not do that, and that any council that wants to have more generous eligibility can continue to do so?

Andy Burnham: I do not disagree with the approach of setting national eligibility criteria and taking a national view, so I agree with the Minister on that. The problem, however, is that if the Government legislate for just critical and substantial levels, they are sending a very clear message to local government that they believe they can only afford to fund it at those levels. Surely the criteria would have been set higher if they were funding local government better.

The truth is that when this Government came to office, many more councils in England were providing social care at “moderate” level. That has been slowly cut

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back and now only about 23 councils are still providing support to people with moderate needs. It is a fair bet that those councils will soon be unable to provide moderate care and shrink back to providing only critical and substantial care.

Norman Lamb: Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that more than 100 councils were setting the eligibility criteria at “substantial” when his party left office? Is he saying that a future Labour Government would fund eligibility criteria at moderate level? If so, how would he fund it?

Andy Burnham: That is a political point; let me deal with it. When we left government, 38 councils were providing some free care to people with either low or moderate needs. I correct the figure I gave a moment ago: it is, in fact, 15 councils that are now doing that. The care system is being scaled back. Therefore, people are more liable to charges and are more likely to have to pay them, because support is being withdrawn from people in the home.

Several hon. Members rose—

Andy Burnham: I was about to explain that those charges are increasing quite quickly, but first I will give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley), who has done so much to raise these issues.

Barbara Keeley: I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way and I am surprised and disappointed that the Secretary of State would not give way.

My local council, Salford local authority, is one of the many that are reluctantly having to cut their eligibility criteria this year. Salford tried to stick with the moderate level and this is the third year of cuts. The council has lost £100 million over the past three years and it will lose another £75 million before the Bill’s reforms are implemented. That is a 20% cut in adult social care. How can any of the Health Ministers, whose southern local authorities are not affected in the same way, think that our northern councils can afford this?

Andy Burnham: Those are the facts. The councils that are still trying to provide support to people with moderate needs are not all, but by and large, Labour councils. They are still trying to do that, but they have lost significantly more per head under this Government than councils elsewhere. The situation is about to get a lot worse, because NHS England will meet tomorrow to consider a major change to the NHS resource allocation formula, which will reduce the weighting given to health inequality and increase the weighting given to age. That will have the effect of taking more money out of Salford and Wigan and giving more money to areas where healthy life expectancy is already the longest. The Government are making it impossible for people who want to do the right thing.

Mr Jeremy Hunt: Local authority budgets were indeed cut to deal with the deficit, so will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether he would reverse those cuts—yes or no?

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Andy Burnham: The Secretary of State may remember that when he came into government he stood on a manifesto promising real-terms increases. He and the Prime Minister have stood at the Dispatch Box every week since the election saying that I said that we would cut the NHS, but that is not the case: I stood on a manifesto promising protection for the NHS in real terms. I said that if there were to be real-terms increases they should be given to social care instead, because it would be “irresponsible”—that was the quote—if the Government overfunded the NHS only to let social care services collapse: it would be a false economy, because it would push more and more older people into hospitals, and hospitals would stop functioning.

Do you know what? That is happening right now. The Secretary of State’s cuts to social care are forcing more and more older people into hospital. That is why he has an A and E crisis—because hospitals are full. On his watch there has been a 66% increase in people aged over 90 going into A and E via blue-light ambulances. If he is proud of that, that is up to him, but I certainly would not be.

Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab): I am not surprised that the Secretary of State wants to change the subject, because if that decision is confirmed tomorrow my clinical commissioning group will lose £29 million—13% of its budget for hospital care. It has some of the poorest health outcomes, but that money will go to places where life expectancy and health outcomes are much better—in other words, Tory-controlled areas. That is a disgrace, coming on top of the closure of fine hospitals such as Charing Cross and emergency hospitals. That is the truth about what this Secretary of State is doing and I am afraid that all we have heard today is political spin.

Andy Burnham: The Secretary of State began by quoting the principles of the NHS. I was always led to believe that one of the principles is that the NHS should respect need—that funds should follow those in greatest need. [Interruption.] The Secretary of State says, “Absolutely.” In constituencies in parts of London, the midlands, the north-west, Yorkshire and the north-east, male life expectancy is 10 years lower than in other parts of the county. There is real need in those communities, but they will be the biggest losers if the change goes ahead. I believe that it is immoral to take money out of those communities to hand it to areas where life expectancy is already longer.

I hope that NHS England is listening to this debate. Quite apart from the morality of whether the change should be made, how is it that a quango can distribute about £80 billion of public money to our constituencies while we seemingly have no locus whatever in such a decision? Should not the Secretary of State be at the Dispatch Box either to defend changes that he makes or to say that such changes will not go ahead, so being accountable to this House? Instead, a quango—the biggest in the world—seems to be about to take money out of some of the most deprived parts of the country.

Kate Green: I was very disappointed that the Secretary of State would not give way to me, because he did not once mention the position of disabled people in his opening remarks. Does my right hon. Friend not agree

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that councils being forced to raise the threshold to “substantial” or “critical” will pile up costs for disabled people and their isolation? They cannot get access to moderate levels of care, go out to work or volunteer in their communities, but are shut at home unable to participate. That is bad for them, and it is a false economy.

Andy Burnham: I could not agree more. I would guess that disabled people listening to the debate today will be very worried about what they are hearing. The change will restrict support for them, and it is a false economy. If they cannot go out to work, how on earth does that help them or, indeed, anybody? The change will have an impact on disabled people, with some losing their support.

I was going on to make the point that disabled people and older people are already paying much more for care as a result of changes in recent years. As research by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) has shown, they are paying almost £740 more a year for vital home case services compared with 2010, up on average by almost £50 a month. That is a hidden cost of living crisis, because who sees that older people have to pay more out of their bank accounts? It goes unnoticed by the media and large parts of society, but the most vulnerable people in society are bearing the brunt.

Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Con): I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned older people. Does he accept that although health inequalities are very important in setting funding formulas, age is one of the greatest predictors for establishing need? It is absolutely vital to include such factors as age and rurality in deciding funding formulas, and it is precisely to remove the politicisation of such decisions that we are handing them over to another body.

Andy Burnham: The hon. Lady must have misunderstood me. I am not saying that age is unimportant; I am saying that age is important, but so is need. In my view, those two must have equal weighting in the system, as they do at the moment. As I understand it, the proposal is to deprioritise need or deprivation as part of the funding formula, which will have the effect of removing funding from communities in which the expectancy for a healthy life is already shortest. I do not believe that that is defensible, and I would be surprised if she found that it was.

Dr Wollaston: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Andy Burnham: I shall do so once more, but then I must make some progress.

Dr Wollaston: The right hon. Gentleman is being generous in giving way. The point is that we are discussing the Care Bill and how need relating to age is the single greatest predictor of someone’s need. I accept that health inequality is a very important factor, but the formula currently does not take enough note of age-based need and multiple long-term conditions.

Andy Burnham: I am not sure that I agree with the hon. Lady. Some older people in my constituency probably do not have as good a quality of life in later life as some in her area, because there are ex-miners with chronic

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obstructive pulmonary disease and other things, who have very extensive needs caused by the dangers they were exposed to during their working life, and that places a burden on our health service. Of course, people are more likely to be living with chronic disease in more deprived areas, and both those things have to be recognised in the funding formula. If the change goes ahead, it will cause great volatility and move a lot of money around the system, but it will not allow areas such as the one I represent to invest in the home-based, high-quality, integrated services that the Secretary of State said he wanted.

To return to the costs of care charged by councils, let us call the hikes in charges what they are—stealthy dementia taxes that seek out the most vulnerable people in our society. The more vulnerable someone is and the greater their need, the more they pay. People who are paying more for care under the current Government and often receiving a worse service will not be convinced by the Secretary of State’s claims for his Bill today. It will feel like a con, and that feeling will only intensify when people understand more about the proposed cap.

Although we welcome the principle of a cap, this one is not what it seems. It is set at £72,000, despite Dilnot warning that a cap above £50,000 would not provide adequate protection for people with low incomes and low wealth. The Health Secretary has repeatedly said that people will not have to pay more than £72,000 for care.

Mr Jeremy Hunt indicated assent.

Andy Burnham: The Secretary of State is nodding, but I hope he will be honest enough to admit today that that is simply not the case. In reality, the average pensioner could pay more than £150,000 for their actual residential care home bill—£300,000 for a couple—before they hit the so-called cap. I will explain why. It is because the cap will be based on the standard rate that local authorities pay for a care home place, not the actual amount that self-funders are charged, which is often much higher than the council rate. It is estimated that in 2016-17, when the cap is due to start, the average council rate for residential care will be £522 a week, and the average price of a care home place will be £610 a week. That is because self-funders pay more than councils. However, that will not be taken into account when the cap is calculated.

Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) (LD): Will the shadow Secretary of State confirm to the House that the use of notional costs, which he is describing, was not a Government proposal but one of the Dilnot commission’s recommendations?

Andy Burnham: I remember that the right hon. Gentleman showed a good deal of support for the Dilnot proposals, as did we, but they worked as a clever package. They were carefully constructed to ensure that the system would work, be progressive and provide support to everybody. They have now been pulled apart and different figures have been introduced.

Paul Burstow indicated dissent.

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Andy Burnham: The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but a £72,000 cap is not what Dilnot recommended. That is the Government’s problem. As I said before, the cap will not cover hotel and accommodation costs, either. When both factors are taken into account, an average person in England will take almost five years to hit the so-called cap. Based on average stays in care homes, that means that six out of seven elderly people will have died before they reach it.

If that were not bad enough, people are about to find out that the promises that they will not have to sell their home are also a con. The ability to defer payment for care was one of Andrew Dilnot’s central proposals designed to stop people worrying about selling their home while they were alive. He said that old people would be able to borrow from the local council and repay care bills from what they left behind. The Government initially said that they would implement that proposal and introduce what they called a universal deferred payments scheme. I remember when they used to call that type of proposal a death tax, but things have seemingly moved on for the better.

However, on the day when Parliament rose for the summer recess, the Department sneaked out a consultation document saying that pensioners would not qualify for any help under the universal deferred payment scheme until their savings and other assets, such as valuable possessions, had been run down to below £23,250. That new condition will prevent almost half of those who would otherwise have been able to take advantage of that apparently universal scheme from accessing it.

Norman Lamb: Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that that was exactly the same proposal as his party’s Government put forward just before they left office?

Andy Burnham: Just as the Government’s proposal is not the Dilnot report, it is not my national care service proposal. I had a range of different proposals, and that one has to be considered in that context.

As the Minister knows, I proposed a universal approach in which everybody would contribute on the NHS principle—I seem to remember that he and I were in some agreement about that. That was a deferred payment, but this proposal is different. The Government are talking about a universal deferred payment scheme in which people will pay from what they leave behind, but—and this is the point—it will not be available to everybody. That was the promise the Minister has broken.

Grahame M. Morris: My right hon. Friend is making excellent points. On deferred payments, this proposal has been presented as something new, but is it not the case that about 90% or 95% of local authorities currently offer a similar scheme?

Andy Burnham: They are offering a similar scheme but at the moment they are not allowed to charge interest on it. That brings me to the next part of what is wrong with these proposals. What the Health Secretary has not said today is that interest will be charged on his proposed deferred payment scheme, which is not universal because it is not available to everybody. A loan to cover the average length of stay in a care home—two and a half years—would clock up extra costs of £3,500 in

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interest alone. That interest would not be included in the cap but would be outside it. Again, people will not feel that what they are paying is related to a cap.

Mr Jeremy Hunt rose—

Andy Burnham: I noticed that the Secretary of State was not very good at giving way, and I hope in future he will bear that in mind.

Mr Hunt: I am most grateful. Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the impact assessment for his policy stated that interest would be charged under his own plans?

Andy Burnham: I was proposing a fundamentally different policy in a national care service. I ask the Secretary of State politely whether it is about time he stopped trying to say that everything is about the past? Why did he not stand there, explain and justify his own policy? Would that have been a good thing for him to have done today, instead of leaving it to me to explain what he is proposing?

Mr Stephen Dorrell (Charnwood) (Con): In the interests of explaining his policy, will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the answer to the question posed by the Secretary of State and the Minister was, “Yes”?

Andy Burnham: I say again, with all respect to the Chair of the Health Committee, that I was proposing a fundamentally different scheme to that in the Bill. I was proposing a universal all-in scheme, and several steps were put forward to get us to that. The right hon. Gentleman knows that because the Conservative party and those on the Government Front Bench put posters up about that scheme before the last election. Does he remember that? [Interruption.] He nods, right—that was my proposal, but it is not the Government’s proposal, which is different. I proposed various steps to get to my scheme. Is it about time the Government started answering for their proposal, rather than for mine?

Barbara Keeley: My right hon. Friend is being generous in giving way, and I guess we ought to move on shortly. There is all this harking back to our policies, but I understand—I was here—that steps were taken towards Labour’s national care service, including the Personal Care at Home Act 2010 that would have helped 400,000 people, not the 100,000 who will be helped by this Bill—if, indeed, it ends up being 100,000. Is my right hon. Friend, like everybody else, totally disappointed with the Government’s lack of ambition to help people?

Andy Burnham: I completely agree, and it is unfair that older people have not been given a full picture. People need proper information to plan for the future, and they have not been getting that today. People need the facts. Spin is of absolutely no use to them whatsoever, but that is all that is on offer from this Secretary of State. The truth is that in the end, the Bill will not stop catastrophic care costs that run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, or stop people losing their homes. It will not improve services now as it promises only a vague review of the practice of 15-minute visits, and strips the

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Care Quality Commission of its responsibility to inspect local authority commissioning, which is often responsible for such things.

Mrs Moon: Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Andy Burnham: I will make some progress and turn to part 2 of the Bill and measures related to the NHS. It would help to get a few facts clear. The Secretary of State seeks to denigrate Labour’s record at every opportunity, but let me remind him that the Labour party left an NHS rebuilt with the lowest ever waiting lists and highest ever public satisfaction. The previous Labour Government introduced independent regulation of NHS hospitals for the first time, prompted by previous scandals at Bristol, Alder Hey and the Shipman murders. The Secretary of State should cast his mind back a little further before coming to the House and making unfounded allegations.

As Robert Francis rightly acknowledged in his report, there was no system of independent regulation before 1997. It was the independent regulator that first uncovered the failings at Mid Staffs and, later, at Basildon. As the party that introduced independent regulation in the NHS, Labour has no problem with strengthening it and providing legislative backing for the appointment of chief inspectors for hospitals, general practice and social care, but let us be clear: those were not recommendations of the Francis report.

The Secretary of State accused us of not supporting the Francis report. We do support the report; it is the Government who are not implementing its recommendations. Just as part 1 of the Bill fails to implement the Dilnot report, part 2 fails to implement the Francis report. One of the report’s central recommendations was for a statutory duty of candour for individuals, but the Government are proposing that it should apply only to organisations. How will an organisational duty help individuals to challenge an organisation where there is a dysfunctional culture? It will not, and we urge Ministers to think again. They also need to clarify whether the duty will cover the most serious incidents, and whether it will apply to all organisations that provide NHS services, including outsourced services.

My main objection to part 2, however, is that it embodies the huge contradiction that now sits at the heart of Government health policy. The Secretary of State talks of independence for the Care Quality Commission in the same way as the Health and Social Care Act supposedly legislated for the independence of the NHS, but this is the Secretary of State who has taken to ringing up hospital chief executives who are not meeting their A and E targets. The Secretary of State nods, but that is not “independence of the NHS”. This is the Secretary of State who holds weekly meetings with the supposedly independent CQC, Monitor and NHS England. What precisely is the Government’s policy on independence? People are becoming confused. Clause 118 makes it clear that the Secretary of State wants more control: he wants sweeping powers to close hospitals without proper consultation and clinical support.

Dame Joan Ruddock: Does my right hon. Friend recall that in the case of the failing South London Healthcare NHS Trust, the trust special administrator got his financial projections wrong? He massively overspent

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his own budget, and failed to point out the consequences for the solvent Lewisham hospital, which was in a different trust and which, as a result, did not consult on them. Does my right hon. Friend imagine that there is any way in which such a consultation could take place and produce good outcomes in just 100 days?

Andy Burnham: I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend. She and the people of her community stood up to an arrogant Government, and won a victory for every community that was worried about the future of its hospital. One would have thought that, following humiliation in the courts, the Government would have backed off gracefully, but no: here comes the Secretary of State again today, like someone who, having been caught breaking in through the back door, has the brass neck to return and try to force his way in through the front. Well, we will not let him get away with it. We give him notice that clause 118 is wrong, that it is an affront to democracy, and that we will oppose it every step of the way.

Hospital reconfiguration should always be driven by a clinical case first and foremost, but clause 118 paves the way for a new round of financially driven closures. It rips up established rules of consultation and the clinical case for change. It allows the Secretary of State to reconfigure services across an entire region for financial reasons alone, which means that no hospital, however successful, is safe. The House needs to stand up to this audacious power grab by the Executive.

Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North) (Lab): The clause introduced in the House of Lords gives extra powers to the trust special administrator. Are we not now faced with a complete contradiction? Rather than clinical commissioning groups commissioning services, the TSA will commission long-term services, and there has been no proper consultation. In Mid Staffordshire and North Staffordshire, for example, we have had a consultation procedure that has taken no account whatsoever of services in North Staffordshire.

Andy Burnham: That illustrates the confusion that is currently at the heart of the NHS. No one knows who is in charge of anything. What if CCGs and the boards of foundation trusts disagree with the conclusions of the TSA? How will that be resolved? Were we not told that doctors were sovereign? Were they not supposed to decide everything? Was that not the big call when the Government introduced their Bill? It seems that that is no longer the case: everything can be done “top down” by the Secretary of State. It takes power away from every Member and could be used as a back-door way to railroad through unpopular changes.

The real danger of the proposal comes when it is seen in the context of the competition regime created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Of course, it is sometimes necessary to make changes to local health services beyond just a failing trust. That is best done through partnership and collaboration, but such sensible changes are now being blocked by the market madness imposed by the Act. We recently saw the ludicrous spectacle of the Competition Commission intervening in the NHS for the first time to stop the sensible

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collaboration between Bournemouth and Poole. Since when did competition lawyers decide what was best for patients?

Mr Jeremy Hunt: What has that got to do with the Care Bill?

Andy Burnham: One reason the Lewisham clause is so worrying is that simple collaboration between hospitals to solve financial problems is no longer an option to ease financial pressures. That is what it has got to do with the Care Bill. The Government are making a case for all hospitals standing or falling on their own, and in that context, the weakest can be picked off by the Secretary of State and closed without consultation. Given the financial pressures on many organisations, this special administration process is likely to be used on an increasing basis, putting more hospitals at risk. That should send a shiver though every community represented in the House today.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab): Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Government seem to have adopted a drip, drip, drip strategy to discredit the NHS? I can remember him proposing a national care service some months before we left office, but the Conservatives rejected it.

Andy Burnham: They did, and they put those posters up at the election to try to scare older people—I do not know how they thought that was appropriate, in the same way I do not know how their contributions today have been appropriate.

What my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) says is exactly what is happening. People are not daft. They can see what is going on. They saw a Government legislate to place the market at the heart of the NHS in a way that means we now have the Competition Commission making decisions and forcing services out to open tender. We also have a Secretary of State who does not waste a day running down the NHS—“uncaring nurses”, “lazy GPs”, “coasting hospitals”; everything undermined, everything wrong—rather than celebrating good care. That is the agenda. They are softening the NHS up for more privatisation.

That will be the big choice come the next election. The Secretary of State can spin whatever lines he wants from that Dispatch Box, but that is the choice: a public, proud NHS under Labour, or a fragmented market under the Conservative party. I know which side of the debate I am on, and that is the choice we will put to people.

Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West) (Con): Independent sector treatment centres—the right hon. Gentleman’s party started competition!

Andy Burnham: Across the NHS, people are spending millions on competition lawyers thanks to the Bill that the hon. Member for Bristol North West (Charlotte Leslie) and others passed. That is being cited as the major barrier to the integration that the Secretary of State claims he wants. Let me quote the NHS chief executive to back up that point. He recently told the Health Select Committee:

“What is happening at the moment…we are getting bogged down in a morass of competition law…causing significant cost in

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the system and great frustration for people in the service about making change happen… In which case, to make integration happen we will need to change it”.

By which he meant the Health and Social Care Act. It could not be clearer. It is the biggest barrier to the integration of care and support for older people. That is understood across the NHS, but the Bill does nothing about it.

Instead, the Government have left an NHS bogged down in competition law. How did it come to that? Who voted for that change? Who gave this Prime Minister and this Health Secretary permission to do something that Margaret Thatcher never dared—put the NHS up for sale? The answer is no one. Ministers talk the talk about integration, but they have legislated for fragmentation and privatisation, and the Bill does not change that. Only Labour will repeal the Health and Social Care Act, and that will be the big choice, as I say. We will bring health and care together, creating a public service working for the whole person. That is the only way we can reshape health and care services around individuals in their own homes.

In conclusion, the Bill makes some sensible changes that we will not oppose, but as our reasoned amendment makes clear, it falls far short of the durable solution that England needs. Social care in England is getting worse, not better, and the Bill does nothing to change that. It will not stop people having to lose their homes and savings to pay for care, and in the end it deceives older people about the amount they might have to pay for care, which is fundamentally wrong. Older people deserve better, and it will fall to Labour to have the courage to deliver it.

Several hon. Members rose

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. As hon. Members will be aware, many people have indicated that they would like to contribute to the debate, but we have limited—albeit a long—time available. I must therefore impose a 10-minute time limit on Back-Bench speeches.

5.9 pm

Mr Stephen Dorrell (Charnwood) (Con): I welcome the Bill. I do not propose to follow the shadow Secretary of State into a discussion of competition policy, as there will be plenty of other occasions for that; it is not germane to this Bill. The reason I welcome the Bill is that it begins to look at health and care from a different point of view from the one with which those of us who have participated in health and care debates in this Chamber over a long period are familiar. When a Bill comes before the House, it usually starts off by describing the function of one bit of the bureaucracy—perhaps creating a strategic health authority or re-creating a different bit of the bureaucracy somewhere else on the landscape. This Bill starts in a quite different place.

Clause 1 talks about the “well-being” of individuals and suggests that if we are to build a health and care system that meets the needs of patients and users for the 21st century, we should, instead of thinking of it as a bureaucracy planned from the top down, think about the service that is delivered to individuals who rely on

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these services. Clause 1 talks about the needs of individuals, and later clauses place an obligation on local authorities to do needs assessments for those individuals.

Clause 2 introduces something that the health and care system has talked about since 1948, but almost never put real resource into, which is preventing the need for the delivery of health and care services, and particularly of acute health care. This Bill’s emphasis is on the needs of individuals and on the need we each feel as individuals to avoid unnecessary health costs and care. None of us wants to be a patient in an intensive care unit if it is avoidable. That is why clause 2 talks about the importance of prevention and avoiding the need for care.

Mrs Moon: Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that it is possible to carry out lots of needs assessment—goodness knows, I carried out many of them in my day—but that unless care is available to allow a patient to be discharged from hospital, it does not matter how many needs assessments have been done? In fact, the longer patients are in hospital, the greater their needs will be—they will not be able to walk, their incontinence will increase and so forth. What is important is to put the cart before the horse and make sure that the funding of community-based care is there. It is not there at the moment.

Mr Dorrell: I shall come on to that point, but to react directly to the hon. Lady’s point, surely it is much better to intervene before the patient arrives in hospital in the first place, preventing the avoidable episode of care. The hon. Lady talks about discharge, and she is, of course, quite right, but how much better is it to prevent the case from arising in the first place, which is what clause 2 is about?

Bill Esterson (Sefton Central) (Lab): I think that is precisely the point my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mrs Moon) was making. The money simply is not there in local government. When 20% of the adult services budget has been lost, the services are not there and the care managers are not there to do the assessment to decide whether to keep people at home or to help them get out of hospital. The service back in the community, after people have come out of hospital, is not there either. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that that money has to go back in?

Mr Dorrell: Of course I accept that if we have more money, we can do more, but I do not think that that exempts us, particularly given the public finances we inherited in 2010, from the obligation to see how we can get more for the £125 billion of taxpayers’ money that is already committed to health and social care in England.

That brings me to clause 3. The only way to deliver person-centred care and early intervention to prevent avoidable cases, is to reinvent care on a much more integrated model between the national health service and the social care authorities. That is why there is the obligation in clause 3 to consider integrating health and care. In that way we will not think of the NHS as one bureaucracy and social care as another, but instead think of it, as Mike Farrar said when he was at the NHS Confederation, as a care system that provides medical

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support when necessary, rather than as a medical system that provides care support when it has got the money—that is how not to do it.

Andy Burnham: The right hon. Gentleman will recall that the NHS chief executive stood before him and his Committee saying that the competition legislation was the biggest barrier to achieving the vision he is rightly describing; he and I agree about the vision of person-centred services in the home. If the NHS is saying that before his Committee, why does he say that the competition regime is irrelevant? Is it not fragmenting care, rather than integrating it?

Mr Dorrell: I did not say it was irrelevant; I said it was not germane to this Bill—and in the seven minutes remaining to me, I am not going to cover that. All I will say to the right hon. Gentleman is that the difficulty with competition policy that the NHS chief executive talked about is a difficulty that health care systems around the world—in north America and in continental Europe—are finding as well. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, however, that we need to look at how competition policy can be aligned with the policy prescriptions I am describing.

I now want to list the fourth key premise upon which this Bill is based; in what must be a short speech, I can list only four. It is around the well-being of individuals; it is around early intervention and prevention; it is around integration; it is also, critically, for the first time in statutory form, around doing needs assessments that take account of the needs not just of the individual person, but of their carer and social context as well. In that way, the support that is provided to individuals takes account of the context in which they live, rather than treats them as individuals divorced from the carers and people who care for them when the statutory social worker is not there.

The Opposition spokesman said this is an enormously ambitious set of objectives, and I entirely agree that the objective of redefining the delivery of health and social care in a way that matches the aims set out in the first three clauses and clause 10 around carers is ambitious. The objective is to re-imagine care so that we think of the health and care system not as being primarily around acute hospitals, but as a system designed to meet the needs of that majority of people who are the main focus of those who work in the service—people who primarily have a care need with an occasional medical or clinical requirement. In other words, this is about thinking about the system from the front end rather than viewing it from the top of the bureaucracy. I commend this Bill because I believe it sets that framework in statute.

I also commend the Government because they are not just setting out these aspirations as commitments in law. It is one thing to change the law. It is another thing to change the way the service is actually delivered on the ground. The most effective step the Government have taken to achieve this re-imagination of care is the £3.8 billion that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State talked about. That is £3.8 billion voted into the NHS but available only if the service at local level delivers the joined-up, person-centred care that is set out in the first three clauses of the Bill. So this is not just a set of wordy aspirations; it is a set of aspirations

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supported by the resources necessary to deliver the change in the care model that the Bill describes. The £3.8 billion is the catalyst that will allow us to deliver the objectives.

With respect to those on the Opposition Front Bench, it is wrong to say that it is only £3.8 billion out of £125 billion. The £3.8 billion is the minimum that the law will require to deliver integrated care within a locality, through the health and wellbeing boards that are much beloved of the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham) and which were legislated for by the Government. This is an important step forward. If the health and wellbeing board in a locality can see a way to use health resources to deliver a changed model of care that puts more focus on prevention and on individuals through the delivery of more joined-up services, there is no constraint in the legislation, as I understand it, to prevent more than £3.8 billion from being used for the delivery of that objective.

Resources are important in this regard. This is partly about the £3.8 billion from the taxpayer, but it is also about individual resources. It is about individual users having their right set out in the Bill to engage with their personal budgets and with direct payments, enabling them to make real choices about how joined-up, person-centred care will work best for them. It is the curse of these health debates to imagine that we can gather 650 people together in this Chamber and work out how we are going to deliver £125 billion-worth of care in a way that will work for an individual old lady in her own home. That is nonsense; we need to engage the people themselves in the decisions on how the resources are used. We also need to assure them that they will not be exposed to catastrophic personal losses by making their own contributions to their care. That is why I welcome the fact that, despite what the right hon. Member for Leigh says, the Bill gives effect to the basic propositions set out in the Dilnot report.

The Bill sets out the vision of person-centred, joined-up, integrated care, and the Government have set out plans to commit resources to turn those fine words into deeds. Also, through the establishment of an independent Care Quality Commission, the Bill will provide independent assurance about the quality of care that is provided right across the health and care system. The right hon. Gentleman claims credit, as he is entitled to do so, for the fact that the previous Government took the first faltering steps down the road to introducing proper regulation of health and care provision, but he cannot possibly believe that the Care Quality Commission that he bequeathed was fit for purpose. If he does, he is the only man in the kingdom to do so. I welcome the fact that this Government are putting in place new management and, importantly, a new statutory framework so that the aspirations that might have motivated the Labour Government to set up the CQC will now be delivered in reality.

5.22 pm

Hazel Blears (Salford and Eccles) (Lab): I should like to begin by quoting one of the Alzheimer’s Society’s ambassadors, Arlene Phillips. Talking about her father, who had Alzheimer’s, she said:

“I did everything I could to care for my dad when we discovered he had dementia. Unfortunately, the efforts of one person—or even a family—aren’t always enough. It soon became clear to me that while I could keep Dad safe when I was by his side, I couldn’t be there every minute of every day.”

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The words of Arlene, and thousands like her, should provide all of us in the House, irrespective of party, with the greatest incentive to act to support those people who are suffering and need care and, crucially, their carers and families, who are the backbone of the social care system in this country.

A society should always be judged by the way in which it looks after the most vulnerable people in its communities, and it is safe to say that, over the years, we have all failed that responsibility. Today is an opportunity for us to acknowledge that, and to point out that, even today, in a modern 21st century developed industrial nation, we are still failing the people who ought to get a great deal more support and care from us than we are currently in a position to give.

The Bill is a small step forward, rather than the giant leap for mankind that I would have liked. One of the central issues is a lack of ambition. We face the biggest social challenge that any of us could possibly see, yet the Bill’s provisions, some of which are well meaning, do not, when taken together, add up to a whole system’s series of changes that result in a basic reconfiguration. The right hon. Member for Charnwood (Mr Dorrell) spoke about that, and I pay tribute to his championing of integration, change, re-engineering and being ambitious. I do not see that in this Bill.

Instead, I see some perverse incentives. If we are talking about the well-being duty and the duty to prevent, reduce and delay somebody’s need for care, how can we say that we are going to support only people with substantial and critical needs? How are we going to engage the system further up the chain, with people who are beginning to suffer, perhaps beginning to have memory problems and beginning to need social care? How are we going to incentivise the system to invest in the new commissioning in clause 5, which talks about diversity and shaping the market? How are we going to get the system to focus on that if all the focus, after £2.85 billion-worth of cuts in social care, is on how we might manage to look after the people with substantial and critical needs? We should be focusing far more upstream in the system.

Meg Munn (Sheffield, Heeley) (Lab/Co-op): As my right hon. Friend has said, the backbone of care in this society is provided by friends and family. Should we not be moving towards a system that incentivises the people currently giving care to continue to do so for as long as possible by supporting them at the lowest level, not at the highest level?

Hazel Blears: My hon. Friend makes an extremely powerful point. I am pleased that the Bill strengthens support for carers. I draw the House’s attention to the Bill introduced by the other Member for Salford, my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley), which seeks to make sure that carers have the right to stay in work and the support to be able to do that. We must consider the cost to our economy of people having to give up work in order to care. We have talked a lot today about perverse incentives and false economies, and that has absolutely been a false economy for a long time.

I wish to say a word about diversity of provision and commissioning new models of care that can help with prevention. In my city we have been working on that for a long time, and I look forward to showing the Minister

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some of our examples when he visits. Social adVentures is a social enterprise that helps people with mental health problems, and one of its projects is “garden needs”. It has taken control of a garden centre, and people with dementia and people with mental health problems are now attending. The way it is keeping people active in the community and able to do many more things than they would if they were isolated and at home is amazing. Unlimited Potential is another fabulous social enterprise, which stands on its own two feet, is not grant-dependent and is able to invest more money back into the community. Last week, I had the pleasure of launching a website called Really Useful Stuff, which is just what it says on the tin—it is a website where people can get aids, adaptations and kinds of social care that are modern, innovative and creative. Those are just a few examples of what is already happening in the community.

I say to the Minister that at a time when money is tight, and will be, no matter which Government are in power, the imperative to innovate and be more creative with the funds we have has never been greater. Therefore, investing, in particular, in the social enterprise sector, which often has these great ideas, and in enabling those ideas to get to scale so that provision can be made across the country, is really important. Another company in my constituency, 2ergo, has recently developed an app for the iPhone where people can see what provision is available in Salford for care, respite care and activity, and how to book it. They can book it over their iPhone—families can do that; they can help the people they are caring for. So this use of new technology is now developing apace, and, again, we have to take advantage.

I commend the Government for organising the G8 summit last week in London—an amazing event where we gathered support from countries across the world. I hope that next year we will be able to expand that to a global event examining dementia, not just one involving the G8 developed countries. Part of that G8 meeting was about how we get more research. I would like to see far more research on the quality of care. There is a lot, but not enough, research on the bioscience, but hardly any research on the interventions we do, particularly for people with dementia. We all know that “singing for the brain” has a great reputation. It helps cognitive development, as do art, drama and reminiscence work. There is no evidence base behind that, so if we are to have a better system of social care, we need better research into therapeutic interventions that work. That will enable commissioners to commission packages of care that they know will make a difference. If money is tight, we need to spend it on things that we know will be effective, and I ask the Minister to support that.

The Alzheimer’s Society has also done a lot of work on dementia-friendly communities. That is not expensive. It is a matter of mobilising the good will of local people, shops and arts centres. In Salford, a taxi firm has trained 400 drivers to look after people with dementia. Such care does not cost a lot of money if we can mobilise ordinary people in their communities. In Japan, 4.5 million people are signed up to be dementia friends. Our ambition is to have 1 million such friends. Again, I push the Government to be more ambitious to see what more we can do.

Clause 5 is about not just diversity and shaping the market, but quality, and that is an area about which we all feel passionate. How can we in this country tolerate a

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situation in which those who do the most difficult job in caring for our friends and family are actually some of the least regarded workers? It is utterly unacceptable to have zero-hours contracts in the social care sector. The carers who care for my dad come in for 15 minutes. They will do more if they can. They have to ring up to be assessed when they have done 12 minutes. They get no payment for travelling and no expenses for their petrol. They came out one Sunday. They started at 8 o’clock in the morning and went home at 9 o’clock at night, but because they only had five hours of 20-minute slots, they got paid only for five hours. Members should try being out on a Sunday for 13 hours and going home with five hours of minimum wage payment. It is an absolute disgrace and a scandal that we tolerate that in this country. I hope the Minister will assist in bringing such practice to an end.

I want to say something about my own local authority. My hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South mentioned the fact that Salford has recently had to change its eligibility criteria from moderate to substantial and critical. We were the last authority in Greater Manchester to have to make that decision, and it was heartbreaking. Our social services have always merited four stars. When I was a councillor 30 years ago, cuts were bad, but we always prioritised social care and nursery care for children. The decision to change the criteria was not made lightly, and the cuts have been absolutely horrendous.

Let me again say to the Minister that we need creativity and imagination to deal with this matter. I want to draw the House’s attention to my unpaid interest in social finance, which appears in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. We have a real opportunity to draw extra funds into the social care system. If we could have a social investment bond that aimed to keep people with dementia in their own homes for longer, we would save the NHS a fortune. People with dementia are admitted to hospital more often. They stay longer in hospital and many more of them die there. If we could mobilise social investment to offer a reward for keeping people in their own homes, funded by the savings to the NHS, we could bring in some new money, not just what we are getting from local authorities.

Norman Lamb: I am very interested in the right hon. Lady’s proposition, and would be happy to talk further with her about it.

Hazel Blears: I am grateful to the Minister for that. In these difficult times, we all have a responsibility to look at creative and innovative ways of funding and to try to carry them through. The whole area is becoming very exciting. It was the legacy that the UK agreed to take on from the G8 meeting last week. We are global leaders. We have 14 bonds in this country; America only has one. For once, we are well ahead of the United States, and I am delighted that the Minister wants to discuss that issue.

All of us could talk for at least 20 or 30 minutes on that issue. As I come to the end of my contribution, I will just say that the Bill is a step in the right direction. I am disappointed—I say this to the Minister in the kindest way I can—that we have not been more ambitious.

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If we want to move towards whole-person care, we will have to be much bolder than we have been. I remember when we said, “We are at our best when we are at our boldest,” and that applies in this case. Nevertheless, over the next few weeks and months, I shall keep holding the Government to account, holding their feet to the fire and pushing them on to see what more we can do. We all feel a personal, deep and emotional responsibility for the most vulnerable people in this country who look to us to care for and support them at a difficult time in their lives.

5.35 pm

Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): I think that the whole House would agree with the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) that we must all try to ensure that our constituencies and communities are, so far as is humanly possible, dementia-friendly. I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate, not least in my capacity as the Commons chair of the all-party group on carers. I trust that the House will understand that that is why I intend to focus my comments specifically on carers’ needs. Other parliamentary colleagues will talk in detail about other aspects of the Bill, such as the national eligibility threshold, personal budgets and other important issues relating to the social care system. They are all important, but in the time available to me I want to focus on the needs of carers. I may well not be able to say all that I would like to say in the time available, and in those circumstances I will put the full text of the speech on my website,—even those of us who have been in this place for 30 years can keep up with new technology.

I welcome the Care Bill and the fact that it contains significant new rights for carers, including stronger rights for an assessment of their needs and a clearer entitlement to services for carers and those for whom carers care as a result of any such assessment. I also welcome the fact that as well as introducing new rights for carers the Bill consolidates their existing rights. Over the years, a number of Bills have enhanced carers’ rights. All the recent ones have been private Members’ Bills, taken through the House with the support of organisations such as Carers UK and the all-party group on carers, so I welcome the fact that this Bill consolidates carers’ rights in a single piece of legislation. Clause 1 sets out the well-being principle, which is a hugely welcome overarching duty that will place individual well-being at the heart of the new reformed social care system.

The Bill has, of course, already enjoyed detailed consideration and scrutiny in the other place. It is to the Government’s credit that they have already introduced a number of further concessions, not least those for young carers, following the hard work of parliamentarians and the National Young Carers Coalition. Good progress has of course been made to enhance the rights of young carers through an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which delivers four key improvements for young carers: the simplification of the legislation on young carers’ assessments; the extension of the right to an assessment of needs for support to young carers under the age of 18 regardless of whom they care for; the fact that it has been made clear to local authorities that they must carry out an assessment of a young carer’s needs for support on request or on the appearance of need; and the provision of appropriate links between

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legislation for children and for adults to enable local authorities to align the assessment of a young carer with an assessment of an adult they care for. The amendment works closely with the provisions in the Care Bill that focus on a whole-family approach to support, and that is all welcome progress.

There are three further issues, however, that I hope Ministers will consider as the Bill makes progress. First, it places new duties on local authorities to provide information and advice services, which are very welcome and will enable carers to access vital information and advice earlier. As part of the enhanced right for carers, the Bill places a new duty on local authorities to undertake a carer’s assessment for all carers. It is also good news that under clause 2 local authorities must have regard to the importance of identifying carers in their populations with unmet needs with the aim of early intervention and prevention of future needs, but the clause does not mention the NHS. Neither the Care Bill nor the health and social care legislation places any responsibility on the NHS to identify carers.

Ministers might say that there is a co-operation clause, clause 6, that requires health bodies to co-operate with local authorities on all clauses in the Bill, including the that on identifying carers, but the way that clause is drafted gives rise to serious concerns that the onus will remain on local authorities. That could well mean that carers will receive very little help from health bodies in certain parts of the country. It is a matter of common sense that for many carers their point of contact with the wider world and the person with whom they will discuss their wider caring responsibilities will be health professionals, such as their GP.

Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that there are nearly 1 million carers of people with cancer in England, half of whom are not receiving any support as carers, notwithstanding the substantial impact on their lives. It is a matter of common sense that carers of people with cancer come into contact mainly with health professionals who are simply not identifying them as carers, which as a consequence means that only 5% of the nearly 1 million people caring for people with cancer receive a carer’s assessment. Half of carers of people with cancer are not receiving any support in return for giving an average of almost 15 hours of care each week. As the number of cancer patients is likely to double from 2 million to 4 million over the next 15 years or so, so too will the number of carers.

Part of the reason why carers of people with illnesses such as cancer are not receiving any support is that three in five people providing unpaid care to loved ones with cancer do not consider themselves to be a carer. They thus lack awareness of carers’ rights, such as the local authority carer’s assessment, which is crucially important because it is the gateway for carers to get statutory support. There needs to be an explicit requirement in the Bill for health bodies to identify carers with unmet needs, with the aim of early intervention and support. Neither the Care Bill nor the Health and Social Care Act 2012 sets out any responsibility for the NHS to identify carers, which is surprising, given that this was something the Government specifically called for in their care and support White Paper, where they outlined the requirement for

“NHS organisations to work with their local authority partners . . . to agree plans and budgets for identifying and supporting carers.”

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The first point that I therefore wish to impress on the Minister is that the Bill should specify that local authorities need to work with health bodies in order adequately to identify carers with unmet needs and provide sufficient services for them, and that there should be a duty on the NHS to identify carers. GPs need to see support for carers of their patients as also being part of their job, because in supporting the patient’s carer, GPs are also supporting the patient. There is, I suspect, a need for a national framework, or guidance, on how the NHS can better identify and support carers.

The second point that I wish to raise is a difficult one. The Government are introducing new and much appreciated rights for carers of adults through the Care Bill, and for young carers in the Children and Families Bill, but parents of disabled children under 18 are not included in either Bill. It is worth reminding ourselves of the recommendations of the Law Commission to strengthen the rights of parent carers in line with other carers, and to consolidate these rights in new legislation.

I appreciate that at a time when we are enhancing and hopefully improving special educational needs in the Children and Families Bill, the question arises whether every parent whose child receives a statement of special educational needs should be considered a parent carer, and I suspect that Ministers would probably respond that in straitened financial circumstances it simply is not possible to give financial support to a child with special educational needs through that system, and at the same time give financial support to their parents as parent carers.

On the other hand, I hope Ministers and the House will appreciate, as I am sure we all do, that for a parent of a seriously and severely disabled child, or a child with serious and severe learning difficulties, those responsibilities as a parent and as a carer can completely take over their life, with little respite. I hope that there will be an opportunity in the Public Bill Committee to consider whether it is possible to give targeted support to parent carers whom, as a matter of common sense, I think we would all recognise merit consideration as carers.

My third point is that the Bill perhaps needs greater clarity to ensure that carers are not wrongly charged for services provided to the person they care for. I know that ministerial colleagues have said that this is not their intention, but I suggest that that is not yet clear enough. Social workers and carer support workers will in due course have to use this legislation to decide on the one hand what is a carer’s service, and on the other what is a service for an older and disabled person. I suggest that this needs to be defined with greater clarity so as to prevent confusion or disputes. I would suggest that we should remove from local authorities any ability to charge for carers’ services. Not surprisingly, many carers are shocked to find, given the support and contribution they are making to caring for a loved one and the amount they are saving the state with the care they provide, that they are being charged for carers’ services.

I hope that during the passage of the Bill through the Commons, the Government will give consideration to these three points relating to carers, but I re-emphasise that overall the all-party group on carers very much welcomes the significant new rights for carers in the Bill, including stronger rights to an assessment of their

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needs and a much clearer entitlement to services for them and those they care for as a result of such a carer’s assessment.

5.44 pm

Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South) (Lab): The Care Bill already seems like a wasted opportunity. I worked for four months, alongside right hon. and hon. Members of this House and Members of the other place, on the Joint Committee that scrutinised the draft Care and Support Bill, and I pay tribute to its members for their work. We now have a Bill that contains some measures that are welcome but others that are seriously flawed.

I will talk first about the burdens the Bill places on local authorities and argue that they must be resourced by the Government. Some people—Ministers or Government Members whose southern local authorities are not being cut in the same way that ours are, for instance—might think that perhaps times are okay, but there could not be a worse time to place extra financial burdens on local authorities. Indeed, the situation for my local authority, Salford city council, will be even bleaker in 2016, the planned date for implementation of the Bill’s reforms. As I said earlier, Salford has already lost £100 million in funding since 2010, and it knows that it will lose another £75 million by 2016. I hope that the Minister is listening—he does not seem to be—because funding for adult social care in Salford has fallen by 20%, from £67 million in 2010 to £53 million this year.

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South) (Lab): My hon. Friend has already alluded to the fact that that is the picture up and down the country. The Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities has said that Stoke-on-Trent has been hit the hardest, but the impact is on constituents across the country.

Barbara Keeley: I agree with my hon. Friend.

Changing eligibility from “moderate” to “substantial” this year will mean that the number of people in Salford receiving council-funded care packages will fall by 1,000, to 7,500. To give credit to Salford city council—my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) has already done so—it held off making the eligibility cut until the third year of Government budget cuts, but now it must join the nine out of 10 local authorities setting eligibility at the higher level. I am afraid that the Secretary of State’s earlier claim that they do not have to set it at that level will have sounded very hollow indeed.

Talking of things that sound hollow, the new rights for carers set out in the Bill will sound very hollow to carers in my constituency at a time when many of them are losing the few hours of support they have that give them a break. I want to cite the example of an elderly couple in Salford who have cared for their adult son for over 30 years and who have relied upon respite care for a rest or a break. At the last review of their son’s care package, the respite care element was reduced, which has had a detrimental effect on their physical and mental well-being. They are now not even sure whether they can carry on caring for him. I fear that my right

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hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles and I will hear many more such cases as 1,000 people in Salford lose their care packages over the next year.

Many organisations involved in social care have raised fears about the crisis in care and their view that the eligibility level should be set at “moderate”, rather than “substantial.” Over the past five years, the number of people over 65 receiving publicly funded care has fallen from 1.2 million to less than 1 million, and for people aged 18 to 64 it has fallen from £570,000 to £470,000. That is a serious fall in the number of people receiving care. Some of those who have lost publicly funded care have funded the care themselves, but in other cases the care workload will have fallen on unpaid family carers.

The number of unpaid carers caring for more than 50 hours a week has increased by over a quarter in the past 10 years. As my right hon. Friend said, Carers UK has told us that 1 million carers have given up work to care, which costs the Exchequer £1.3 billion a year in extra carer’s allowance and lost tax receipts. I believe that reliance on unpaid family care with those heavier carer workloads might also have an impact on the health of those carers, particularly those caring at the heavier end.

The Government plan to set the national eligibility threshold at “substantial”. The Care and Support Alliance says that this means that 105,000 working age disabled people will be left without the support they need to live independent lives. That issue was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green), and she is right to do so. We focus an awful lot on adult social care and older people, but we need to think about working-age disabled people as well.

Norman Lamb: I absolutely respect and appreciate the hon. Lady’s concern for carers; she has campaigned vigorously on their behalf for a very long time. Does she accept, though, that when her party left office, 108 councils set “substantial” as the eligibility criterion for support from local authorities? Do we not all face the same incredibly difficult financial circumstances and have to examine the innovation that the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) talked about? There is not simply a pot of magic money that will appear if ever Labour returns to government.

Barbara Keeley: I do not agree at all. These cuts are far too swingeing, and there is nowhere else for my local authority, Salford, to go. After 20% cuts, the £100 million loss of funding that we have sustained cannot be found with any amount of innovative thinking. Ministers are now at the point of kidding themselves. I am sure that the Minister, like all his predecessors, goes round the country and is shown all kinds of examples of innovation, but innovation without funding will not work.

The eligibility issue interacts with the cap on care costs. The vast majority of older people will fail to benefit from the £72,000 cap on care costs; it will help only those with the most complex needs. As has been said—we need to keep repeating it—a cap set at £72,000 ignores Andrew Dilnot’s warning that it would work only if it were set at a much lower level and if the underfunding of social care were addressed. It is clear from the Government’s own impact assessments that the number of people whose costs will be capped are a tiny minority. It is estimated that just over one in 200 people

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aged over 65 will be helped in 2016 and that fewer than one in 200 will be by 2026. It is an incredibly sad reflection of this Government’s ambition that they will have spent the whole of a five-year Parliament—in fact, longer than a five-year Parliament—introducing measures on the long-term funding of social care that eventually help only one in 200 people. My right hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles talked about being ambitious; this is not ambition.

On the support needs of carers, I will repeat some of the things that we heard from the right hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry). Full-time carers are more than twice as likely to be in poor health as people without caring responsibilities. I point out to the Minister that this Bill does not do enough to support those full-time carers. The Government have said that carers are the first line of prevention in that properly identifying and supporting them prevents the escalation of demand on statutory services. Given the A and E crisis, we need that prevention. However, identification of carers is not happening and the Bill does not do enough to change that. Macmillan Cancer Support, which has been carrying out surveys on this, tells us that 70% of carers of people with cancer come into contact with health professionals, who are the people who should be identifying them and signposting them for information and advice. Only 5% of that group of carers receive a carers assessment, and only one in three of those surveyed by Macmillan had even heard of a carers assessment. It is meaningless to suggest to people that they have a right to something they have never heard of and are not going to get.

In Salford, we have a project run by the Carers Trust centre to identify carers within the primary care system. I want to pay tribute to the work that the centre does and to mention its manager, Dawn O’Rooke, who is leaving this month after several years of work in this field. Over the years, the project has established a network of links within GP practices to identify carers. Last year, GPs made only 300 referrals to the carers centre, yet we have 23,000 carers in Salford, over 5,000 of whom will be caring at the heaviest levels. The Carers Trust tells us that, nationally, GP practices are identifying only about 3% of carers, but it should be 10% or more. Health bodies must be required—this Bill is the place to do it—to take on the task of identifying carers and referring them for advice and support, because carers are mainly seen in health settings and not by local authorities. The figures I gave about people losing packages mean that 1,000 fewer people in Salford will be seen by, or go anywhere near, the local authority because the person they care for is not getting a care package.

The Minister is aware of my private Member’s Bill, the Social Care (Local Sufficiency) and Identification of Carers Bill, which had clauses to tackle that issue. I am happy to show them to him again and explain how he could go about tackling the issue in his Bill. The clauses would ensure that NHS bodies have procedures in place to identify carers and ensure they receive information and advice. The Government’s own care and support White Paper stated that there is

“still an unacceptable variation in access to tailored support for carers”

and that NHS organisations should

“work with their local authority agree plans and budgets”.

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The right hon. Member for Banbury made that point. Why are there not more robust measures in the Care Bill to make sure that this happens? As things stand, it will not happen. The NHS has been going through an agony of reorganisation and is now going through an agony of finding efficiency savings, and its staff do not have the time, unless they are directed to the right procedures, to take this task on.

As has rightly been said, clause 2, with its requirements for local authorities to provide preventive services, makes no explicit mention of the NHS, and the only duty on NHS bodies is one of co-operation. Anyone who has tried to work in local authorities on co-operation with health bodies, as I did years ago, knows that it does not go anywhere when there is no budget and no duty. Without effective procedures and systems within health bodies, the identification and signposting of carers will stay as it is now—patchy and inconsistent. It is questionable whether cash-strapped local authorities will be able to assess the needs of large numbers of carers alongside giving information and advice to self-funders and doing a lot more assessments. They will not be able to do that in any way that makes it a worthwhile exercise for carers, and carers will not bother with it if it is not doing anything for them. Indeed, the Joint Committee on the draft Bill received many comments via its web forum from people who said that local authority assessments are of little practical help in their caring role.

GPs and other health professionals are best placed to help carers when they start caring, which is when they most urgently need help and advice. During carers week here, I met carers who told me about a whole variety of things that they needed help with but nobody helped them. Nobody told them that there were schemes to help them with the cost of parking at the hospital. One mother had to buy a hospital bed and nobody told her where to find one; she was looking for one on eBay. She had no advice and support on that whatsoever. GPs deal with dementia patients, stroke patients and patients with cancer. The GP and primary health care team is best placed to establish whether there is an unpaid family carer or whether they live in another town or city. The GP can then refer them to sources of advice and support and, if they are local, give them regular health checks. A new duty on the NHS professionals is the only thing that would make it easier for social care and health services to work together to support carers. I believe that that is wanted by Members in all parts of the House.

Given everything that we are talking about, carers are clearly being placed under ever greater strains. It is essential that the Bill is used to ensure that carers are identified and signposted towards the support they need. It is clear from all the statistics that unpaid carers are the most vital providers of care in this country. I urge Ministers not to miss this chance to improve the support that we give them.

5.57 pm

Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West) (Con): I greatly welcome much of what is in the Bill. I am slightly disappointed by the tone of some—not all—Labour Members, who seem to suggest that the challenges our society faces with social care are in some way new. I looked after an old lady from 2003, during the economic boom times, and became very well acquainted with her

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care package, care needs and care challenges, and the challenges faced by her social workers. Back then, social workers were expected to get across London in 20 minutes, which was obviously impossible, so the care time that they had with my friend was severely cut down; in fact, sometimes it was 15 minutes, a figure that we have already heard. There was also a massive challenge in terms of raising the status of the profession of social work. Those challenges existed back then, during the boom times, and they still exist now. It is very brave and ambitious for the Government to be making such significant steps in unifying health and social care at a time when the economic situation is very difficult.

Other Members have dealt with the care and support aspect of the Bill more eloquently than I can, and I am sure that others will too. I want to focus my brief remarks on part 2, which is about the response to Francis and care standards.

I think that one lesson we have learned following the Mid Staffs scandal is that making rules does not necessarily mean making change. I remind the House of the 2002 “Code of Conduct for NHS Managers”, which states:

“As an NHS manager, I will observe the following principles: make the care and safety of patients my first concern and act to protect them from risk;…be honest and act with integrity; accept responsibility for my own work and the proper performance of the people I manage”.

Following the unravelling of scandals in Mid Staffs and elsewhere, it is very hard to understand how NHS managers were adhering to that code of conduct, which was written for them, and why none of them has faced the consequences of not doing so. That is a salutary lesson: we need to be wary that putting things in writing does not always mean that they will happen culturally. People have remained unaccountable for a serious breach of that managerial code of conduct, many of whom, I am afraid to say, continue to work in the NHS today.

As the Bill progresses, I want to see more detail on how the contractual obligation for a duty of candour, which is welcome, will be enforced. I understand the desire for a statutory duty on individuals, but I share fears that it may oversimplify the blame culture that this House has discussed at length. Having seen what happened with our hospitals’ complaints system and the cover-up of blame, I am very worried that a statutory duty on an individual clinician could be abused, such that blame could be parked at a clinician’s door by a management system that does not want its own failings to be highlighted. That could lead to unfortunate false allocations of blame by the system in which clinicians work.

If a contract’s duty of candour is not met, what will be the consequences? It is an issue that there have been no consequences for those who have breached things written down in guidelines and codes of conduct. It is important to understand in more detail what the consequences will be of a breach of contract.

I would particularly like to know whether managers, organisations such as NHS England, and Department of Health officials will have the same duty of candour. The reason why scandals such as Mid Staffs have been allowed to go on and on is that it was not just the hospital that was complicit in it; the entire system around the hospital should have been acting in patients’ interests, but it did not.

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Some have faced consequences for their actions—their actions were good, but the consequences have been diabolical—namely whistleblowers. I know and understand that real reform of how we treat whistleblowers and enable whistleblowing will require changes to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. If a whistleblower has been found to be correct in raising concerns in the NHS and those concerns are recognised, I would like to know why any future employer would choose not to employ them. If an employer is a good employer, they would welcome a whistleblower into their ranks as someone who would not go native and accept appalling care when others might do so and who would also have the moral fortitude to stand up and talk about failings when others might not. The test of a good employer is how well they employ people who have been proven to be whistleblowers.

People such as Eileen Chubb and David Drew have sacrificed their careers to highlight bad care, but they have not seen the systemic changes for which they made those sacrifices and they are still suffering the consequences. Surely that is a part of NHS and health culture that the Bill should seek to change.

I welcome the fact that the Care Quality Commission will be looking at the issue of whistleblowers and I welcome James Titcombe’s involvement in the CQC. As someone who thought that the CQC brand was so damaged that it should probably just be scrapped and we should start again, I have to say that I think David Prior has made remarkable progress, given what he started out with, in beginning to turn this monolith around.

Statutory independence of the CQC is very long overdue. I think that everyone in the House has been concerned about the fact that the CQC’s mission seemed to be reputation management for itself and the NHS, and not a brave and courageous stand on behalf of the patients it was supposed to be protecting. In order to ensure that the CQC remains independent from Government—independence in words is fine, but independence in culture is what really matters—it might be illustrative to look back to the era before the CQC and other regulatory bodies were in place, when royal colleges used to send their members into hospitals. They would do so not to inspect hospitals as such, but for reasons of medical training. However, by getting a granular view of the training on offer they could see whether or not it was sufficient. If not, the royal colleges could, under bodies such as the hospital recognition committee, withdraw training from a hospital, which gave the inspection teeth. It was the royal colleges that went in—often without any pay at all; just enough to cover expenses—and interviewed junior doctors and consultants individually, and problems naturally came to light because the interviews were often confidential.

A Wigan hospital fell foul of an inspection in 2001 and its chief executive did not take kindly to it. Funnily enough, just after the inspection took place, the chief executive, who was quite close to Alan Milburn and the then Prime Minister, went into the Department of Health and abolished the system whereby professional clinicians could get a granular view of what was going on in hospitals, replacing it with the postgraduate medical education training board and then the medical training application service, which was disastrous. The more we can put those who do not have an interest in bolstering

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the Government of the day—namely the professionals, clinicians and members of the royal colleges—on the ground and doing granular investigations, the more confident we can be that the CQC will be independent.

Grahame M. Morris: I am not sure that I share the hon. Lady’s enthusiasm about the transformation of the CQC; nevertheless, some progress has been made. Does she share my concern that clause 85 proposes to dilute the CQC’s powers with regard to investigating the commissioning of adult social services and social care by local authorities? Is that not a step backwards, particularly if the hon. Lady is concerned about the issue of 15-minute visits and the impact that has on quality?

Charlotte Leslie: I am afraid that the quality of care and social care could be the next boil of scandal to erupt as we gain a more granular view of what is going on. Organisations need not just more effective tick-box inspections, but more effective granular inspections. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman: I think the CQC is taking great steps forward. I am very sceptical, but I am cautiously optimistic of progress and will continue to look at what the CQC does.

I will make progress, because I do not want to prevent other Members from contributing to the debate. Essentially, the Bill can only put down regulation. One of my favourite things is to warn against systems so perfect that nobody needs to be good, yet this House really only has levers to change systems. We cannot always enable people to be good, but we can devise systems that enable them to be good. This House is attempting to turn around a massive cultural tanker and it is unrealistic to think that we can do so through the scope of a single Bill. I think, however, that the Bill takes very important steps forward in a very difficult context. I am disappointed that it is not supported throughout the House, although I think that constructive amendments and changes to it will be welcomed in the interests of the patients we are all here to serve. I heartily recommend the Bill to the House.

6.8 pm

Meg Munn (Sheffield, Heeley) (Lab/Co-op): Members on both sides of the House agree that we need to reform and improve how we provide care to those who need it. In the words of the Law Commission, our current legal framework is a complex and confusing patchwork of legislation that is in desperate need of modernisation. However, the premise on which part of the Bill is based is simply outdated. It tries to focus the debate on residential and nursing care costs, which directs our view of care on to issues of the previous century when this should be a Bill for the landscape of the 21st century.

Only a small percentage of older people need to be in residential or nursing care and, thankfully, most of them for only a relatively short period at the end of their lives. Most people want to stay in their own homes if they can. Consequently, it is right to develop care services that make that happen, such as ExtraCare homes, whose options for meals and support for residents can change as their needs change.

Our care system is there not just for when people hit crisis point; it should be preventive, ensuring that those who need moderate care and support can receive it in their own homes. Yet, as we have heard time and again

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in this debate, because of the Government’s savage cuts to local authority funding, 85% of local authorities now provide care only to those whose needs are assessed as substantial. If the level is also set at substantial in relation to the proposed national eligibility criteria in clause 13, people with moderate care needs will continue to be ignored. Their needs will inevitably move to severe, which will mean even greater cost to both the individual and the state. My hon. Friends have given examples of that.

As has already been said, the vast majority of care in this country is given by family and friends, who provide not just physical care but emotional support. Most do so willingly, but many would benefit from some support through the provision of low-level services, such as a sitting service to allow them time to themselves, or a cleaning service to allow them to concentrate on providing more personal help. Put simply, a small amount of support for those whose needs are at a lower level would lever in a large amount of care by families, who would also be enabled to continue to provide support over a longer period, so saving on much more expensive services.

Robert Flello: On the theme that my hon. Friend is developing, quite a lot of carers are almost borderline in their need for care themselves. What is her view of the fact that without that extra bit of support for carers’ needs, there may be the double hit of two people needing care from the state?

Meg Munn: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I managed care services when, not the previous Government but the one before that, brought in a health and social care Act. Within the first six months, we found that every single person who ended up in residential care did so because of carer breakdown, as the carer was not getting support. That is why this support is such an important part of what we should deliver.

Care services must be personalised: they have to be about choice, as well as need. If we are to make such personalisation a reality, we need further integration of our health and social care services. The duty on local authorities under clause 3 to promote the integration of care and support with health services does not go far enough in that respect. Indeed, a recent survey of health and wellbeing boards found that most local authorities have not identified integrated care as a priority. Clearly, we must do more to drive forward the development of integrated care. Without such an approach, we will return to the days that I remember well, when there were fruitless arguments about whether a service such as bathing was required on social or health grounds.

The integration of health and social care services is crucial to ensure that we provide carers with sufficient support. As a patron of Sheffield Young Carers, I feel privileged to have seen at first hand the selfless role that even very young carers undertake in our communities, and they should be valued.

As has been said by the right hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) and my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley), the Bill places a duty on local authorities to have regard to the importance of identifying carers, but that is not good enough. Some 80% of carers have contact with a health care professional, and it makes absolutely no sense to leave the NHS out of the duty to identify carers.

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That matter is especially worrying as regards young carers, who quite often need a lot of support. The Children and Families Bill will strengthen young carers’ rights by providing that when a child is identified as a young carer, the needs of everyone in the family should be considered. That of course presupposes that young carers will be identified in the first place. If we do not place a corresponding duty to identify carers on health authorities, we risk young carers falling through the gaps, and we cannot continue to leave them without support.

My remarks would be somewhat lacking if I did not refer to the funding or, perhaps more accurately, the lack of funding that underpins our social care system. The proposals outlined in the Bill primarily concern redistributing the costs of care, and they will not bring any extra funding into the system.

Bill Esterson: My hon. Friend is making an absolutely crucial point. Does she agree that unless investment in social care is made now, it will end up costing far more in the cost of the NHS, as well as that of social care? It is the lack of ambition, as well as the lack of finance, that is really disappointing in what the Government are introducing in the Bill.

Meg Munn: I agree. The demand for services is now greater than ever. Our social care system is being cut to the point of breaking. As has already been discussed, should the proposed health funding reallocation for clinical commissioning groups be implemented, the situation will only get worse. South Yorkshire is due to lose £150 million by April 2014. That is staggering given that, under the proposals, other parts of the UK that already have better health outcomes and longer life expectancy will receive an increase in funding. This Bill seeks only to ration scarce resources; without a completely different approach, we will fail to meet proven need.

As a former social worker, I welcome clauses 42 to 47, which introduce a duty on local authorities to make inquiries when they suspect that an adult is at risk of or is experiencing abuse or neglect. Yet no duty is placed on care providers to report suspected abuse or neglect to the local authority. The Government contend that the present guidance is sufficient, but I disagree. In the light of Winterbourne View and Mid Staffordshire, we cannot afford to have such gaps in protection.

A recent Care Quality Commission report stated that our accident and emergency departments see 500,000 elderly victims of neglect. I am therefore far from convinced that enough has been done to address the issue. Where victims of abuse are imprisoned in their own homes by a perpetrator who denies access to adult safeguarding staff, there are no current legal means by which access can be achieved. An amendment was tabled by the noble Baroness Greengross in the other place to enable a social worker to apply for a court order to access an adult at risk. Between now and the Committee stage, will the Government reflect on that matter and introduce something to address that gap?

The Bill is an opportunity for much-needed reform of our health and social care system, but in its current form it does not make the changes that we need. For

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that reason, I fully support my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition’s reasoned amendment.

I apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I will have to leave very shortly to read in a carol service.

6.16 pm

Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) (LD): I want to echo the remarks made by the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears): we must keep the dignity and well-being of those who need care and, indeed, their carers at the forefront of our thinking in this debate and as we seek to implement the Bill.

Like the right hon. Lady, the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) made a very interesting speech. I thank her for her service on the Joint Committee that scrutinised the draft Bill. I had the pleasure to chair that Committee, which had a very strong team from both Houses. It made some recommendations to which I will return in a minute.

What struck me during the speech from the Opposition spokesman, the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham), is that if so much in the Bill appears to be wrong, surely he should have the courage of his convictions and go through the Lobby to oppose it. There is apparently so much awful stuff in it—so much of it is inadequate, does not reach far enough or does not do enough, or if it does enough, there will not be enough money—that the Opposition should perhaps have the courage of their convictions.

At the same time, we have heard really interesting examples of where social care should be celebrated. Too many speeches have suggested that the picture of what is being done on the ground is uniformly bleak, but examples have been given of dementia-friendly communities, Unlimited Potential and the “garden needs” scheme in Salford. Those are just a few examples, and I am sure that every hon. Member could go back to their constituency and find such initiatives. Many of the initiatives do not require substantial resources because, as the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn) just said, they can lever in additional resources by enabling communities to respond to need. That is an essential part of the Bill.

Barbara Keeley: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Grahame M. Morris: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Paul Burstow: I give way to the hon. Lady because she tried to intervene first.

Barbara Keeley: It is about a year since the right hon. Gentleman and I started four months’ work on the Joint Committee, and I was prepared to commit that time although I still find some aspects of the Bill disappointing. The reality of our situation in Salford now and over the next year is that—week in, week out—I, as a local MP, will find that people and their carers have lost care packages. I invite him to think about the situation of the very many MPs who now see the heart-breaking decisions that families face when they suddenly find themselves without care, respite care or support.

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Paul Burstow: I entirely understand that, and I see it in my constituency, where my local authority is grappling with those budget choices, but there is still scope for innovation. There are good, bad and ugly local authorities when it comes to grappling with the resource constraints that the deficit has led to, and I will come back to that in a moment.

I believe that the Bill deserves to be described as landmark legislation, because it will provide a new governing purpose for our social system—the idea of well-being, to which I will return—new rights for carers and, for the first time, parity of esteem between those who are cared for and family members who provide care and support. The new national eligibility threshold will end the postcode lottery for access. We can debate where the line is drawn, but for the first time that will become a national debate rather than simply a local one.

There will also be new obligations on local authorities on behalf of the whole population that they serve. There will be obligations to prevent and postpone the need for care, to ensure quality and choice of services and to ensure that there is good information and advice about the whole range of choices that people might need to make as they approach the point at which they need care. Importantly, the Bill is foundation legislation upon which a more co-ordinated and integrated system of health and social care can be built.

I could stop there, but the Bill will do more than that. It will simplify and clarify entitlements to state-funded support and put personal budgets into law for the first time. That is all before I have even mentioned the Dilnot reforms, about which it is important to give some context. Social care in this country today is not free. That is the nasty little secret that families discover when they are tipped into crisis and have to negotiate with their local authority over whether they will have access to any means-tested support. Most people do not know that, and it comes as a shock and creates anger and dismay in many families. While I was a Minister, Members from both sides of the House showed me letters of anguish from people who felt that the system was letting them down. To understand the value of Dilnot is to make a true comparison not with what people hope the system will be but with what it actually is today—a nasty, mean system that is means-tested. That is why the Government deserve to be commended for having the courage to start to put in place the principles that Dilnot proposed.

The right hon. Member for Leigh gave no direct quotation from Andrew Dilnot in opposition to what the Government are doing. I know why—it is because there is no direct quotation of that sort. Andrew Dilnot supports the changes and sees them as a much-needed step towards implementing all the principles that he recommended in his report.

Of course, it is important that we recognise that not everyone will ever need formal care. A minority of our population will need formal support, no matter where the threshold is drawn. Perhaps some will need it right at the end of their life. Those who do will want the Bill to give them peace of mind, and that is what Dilnot provides to everyone. Some people are confused by the idea of catastrophic costs based on all people needing care, but the reality is that most people will never reach the cap wherever it is drawn, because they will never need to draw down that much resource to pay for care

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costs. Moving the means test threshold from £23,250—the meanest of means tests in our welfare state—to £118,000 is a huge step forward.

For all those reasons, the Bill can be marked out as a comprehensive reform of our social care system, and it deserves the House’s wholehearted support today. There are other reasons why it deserves support, too. The draft Bill was consulted on extensively and has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny, of which I am a great fan. As the Minister at the time, I actively sought permission for it to be subject to that approach. By a curious twist of fate, I then found myself chairing the very scrutiny Committee that I had advocated. I was lucky to have cross-party support from both Houses in doing that job, and it was a strong Committee. We made 107 recommendations, the vast majority of which the Government accepted before introducing the Bill. Many of the others have been persuaded upon them through their lordships’ scrutiny, and I am grateful to colleagues in the Lords for what they have done.

All of that will be worth nothing if the Bill is not well implemented. As the debate has demonstrated powerfully, there is a huge knowledge gap that leaves people struggling in a crisis. It means that people do not plan or prepare for care, financially or in other ways. We need not just local information and advice services but a multi-channel, multi-media campaign to inform and educate the public, hon. Members and the people who work in the system. We need to ensure that we manage changes well, such as deferred payments, about which I hope the Minister will say more later, not least because it is not a sufficient defence to say, “Because Labour did this when it was in government, we will do it as well”. I hope the Minister will have a better answer on that point.

I want to give one example of why the implementation challenge is big. There are 300,000 to 400,000 people in this country who already pay for their care. It would make no sense for them all to be told to line up on 1 April 2016 to get their care accounts sorted out. The change needs to be phased and planned so that we do not overwhelm local authorities in April 2016. I hope that the Minister will be able to reassure us about that.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley, said that the Bill was a look back to 20th-century models of care. I disagree, because at front and centre, in the Bill’s first clause, is the disruptive idea that we should promote individual well-being. It states that well-being is about quality of life, work, leisure, study, the right to be an active member of the community, being in control and maintaining and recovering physical and social function—all things that were anathema to many of the paternalistic models of 20th-century care.

We need only compare current care plans for older people with those for active and working-age people to see the stark difference. The plans for working-age people are about their being engaged with their communities, but for far too many years the plans for older people have too often been about “task and finish”, with tasks being burned down to just 15 minutes or less. That cannot be right, and it has to change. That is why I welcome the fact that the Secretary of State will also be subject to the well-being principle in discharging his obligations under the Act to regulate the system.

I would welcome some clarification of the term “beliefs” with regard to well-being. It would be helpful if the Minister said whether it applies to religious and spiritual beliefs, and whether that point will be covered in guidance.

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On prevention, which has an important link to the well-being principle, can the Minister confirm that the duty set out at the beginning of the Bill will be outside the consideration of national eligibility, and that it will be a universal obligation that will not just apply to those who qualify for care? Will the local authority actively have to secure it?

Norman Lamb: I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend for his amazing work in launching the Bill and in its pre-legislative scrutiny. I can confirm that the prevention duty will be universal and have no relation to the criteria for eligibility.

Paul Burstow: That is very helpful, and I am grateful. The fact that the prevention duty will be outside the eligibility criteria gives the lie to the idea that it will be curtailed. That is important to understand. There has been some dispute about that, and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services now suggests that the change in eligibility will be more generous than many people have thought.

Several Members have touched on the issue of carers. Progress has been made in the Children and Families Bill, and I hope that there will be progress on the identification of carers as well. One of my deep frustrations as a Minister was that, even when I had pulled all the levers available to me to try to get the NHS to do more on carers, it still did not get it. It did not do enough, and although there are beacons in the NHS, the whole thing has not been set afire so that the NHS really changes how it engages with carers. We need seriously to consider legislation on that, and I look forward to the Minister setting out how that might be achieved.

I want to touch on the role of the Care Quality Commission. It might be right to remove its duty to do periodic reviews, but it is important that it can exercise its power to conduct special reviews of commissioners without reference to Ministers. Where it finds that there a provider’s failure is attributable to commissioning failures, it should be able to inspect the local authority in question without having to seek Ministers’ permission. In that way, the special inspection powers could be used much more creatively.

A lot has been said about integration in this debate. I hope that we can make more progress on the matter to include it in all parts of the Bill during its passage through the House. I believe that the Bill deserves a Second Reading tonight, because it offers a transformative vision of how care is delivered in this country. By making well-being the central organising principle, we can deliver a much better quality of life for those who need care.

6.29 pm

Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent) (Lab): It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow).

There are many challenges for the social care sector as we continue to live longer. In Wales, 20% of our population of 3 million is over 65, and that figure is predicted to rise to 25% over the next 20 years. It is essential that our older people live their lives with

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dignity, respect and in safety. Other Members have mentioned the costs of care and improving hospitals, but I want to concentrate my remarks on regulation and safeguarding in care homes.

The rising number of elderly people, some of whom need residential care, has led to significant private equity investment in the social care market. In 2011, many Members were troubled by the billion-pound collapse of Southern Cross Healthcare, whose quick-buck business model caved in when the global recession arrived. The media have now reported that care providers NHP and HC-One are expected to be put up for sale soon with US private equity interest.

Private and voluntary providers now account for 92% of all residential care and nursing home places, and 89% of care home care hours are outsourced by local authorities. The Care Bill gives the CQC in England extra powers to oversee the social care market, in particular companies that are deemed “too large to replace”. I welcome that, but we may need to oversee better business models at a more local level. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services budget survey 2013 showed that more than half of directors expect providers in their areas to face financial difficulty, given the squeeze on local authority budgets that other Members have mentioned. Perhaps those oversight powers should better cover small and medium providers too. I hope the Minister will reassure the House that the CQC will have the resources and expertise to assess whether all care home owners are fulfilling their obligations regarding their financial viability. My constituents who went through anxious times with Southern Cross would like more stable care home operators and better financial scrutiny by regulators.

The other issue I wish to address is adult safeguarding. I have previously told the House about the horrendous instances of historic neglect and abuse in care homes uncovered by Gwent police’s Operation Jasmine. The £11.6 million investigation started in 2005 and gathered 10,500 exhibits and 12.5 tonnes of documents. It led our police to brand the negligence discovered as “death by indifference”. There were 103 alleged victims of care home abuse and neglect, yet, like their relatives, I was dismayed that Operation Jasmine secured just three convictions for wilful neglect by carers. Worse, charges brought against a care home owner did not directly relate to poor care for residents in his homes, but instead to breaches of health and safety legislation and false accounting. That cannot be right.

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab): At a time when children’s safeguarding boards are subject to so much scrutiny and questions about their performance, does my hon. Friend share my fear that the Government may be adopting a model that is flawed and needs a great deal more work? If that model is replicated for older people and adults in need of care, we may see a repetition of the same problems.

Nick Smith: My hon. Friend makes a good point.

I was struck when speaking to victims’ families in south Wales that although many were regular or even daily visitors to their loved ones’ homes, they were not informed about bedsores or concerns that their relatives were not eating or drinking properly—such concerns were just brushed aside. Yes, individuals must

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be responsible for their actions, but what was uncovered was institutionalised neglect, with instructions on cutting back on food and incontinence pads coming from the top.

I am pleased that in Wales the First Minister has agreed a review of Operation Jasmine, led by Dr Margaret Flynn, who wrote the excellent Winterboume View hospital report. Although it will not report in time to amend this Bill, I hope the Government will consider any additional measures that that crucial review may highlight because we know that such issues are not just a problem for Wales. Information supplied by the House of Commons Library shows that, in 2011-12, 65,580 allegations of abuse of vulnerable adults aged 65 or over were made at different locations in England. Of those, 29,555—about 45%—were alleged to have taken place in care homes. This is a big national issue.

Looking to the future, we must improve the law on wilful neglect. If a patient does not die from poor care and does not have a loss of capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service states that a criminal offence is difficult to identify. Given that, respected groups such as Age UK support the proposal that organisations—not just employees—found to have contributed to abuse or neglect in a care setting should be liable to criminal prosecution.

Norman Lamb: The hon. Gentleman is making some serious points. Does he welcome the fact that the Government have consulted on a change so that we introduce fundamental standards of care, and that those providers of care—the organisations, and indeed their directors—can be prosecuted for failures of care? That has not been possible until now due to a flawed regulatory system.

Nick Smith: I welcome that but I am not sure it goes far enough. I think the issue needs to be teased out further in this debate and possibly in the Bill Committee.

Paul Burstow: I know that the hon. Gentleman is campaigning hard on these issues at the moment. Does he agree that we need a clear criminal offence of wilful neglect in respect of people who have capacity, so that they are not left behind, as in the current position? If the Government cannot be persuaded—although I hope we can persuade them—of the case for a power of entry or power to interview a suspected victim of coercive abuse, they should at least adopt some sort of regulatory powers so that they can introduce such a measure later when they are finally persuaded by the overwhelming evidence.

Nick Smith: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his suggestion. That seems possibly a good idea and something we should pursue in the future.

I congratulate my Gwent colleague, Lord Touhig, who tabled an amendment to the Bill in the House of Lords to introduce the offence of corporate neglect. If we do not get what is needed this time, I would like to table an amendment on the same topic in this House. I hope that following the welcome consultation on strengthening corporate accountability in health and social care that the Minister mentioned, the Government will now make our law fit for purpose.

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I support clause 48, which was inserted in the other place and provides equal protection to all users of regulated social care, regardless of where that care is provided and who pays for it. As Age UK says,

“for those at the sharp end of indifference and abuse, it is essential that both the provider and the regulator have clear legal duties to protect human rights.”

As we know, social care and health are devolved issues in Wales, and last week the Welsh Government published a draft “Declaration of the Rights of Older People” to be considered by our older people’s commissioner and an advisory group. I warmly welcome that initiative and think the Government would be well advised to follow the example of Wales and appoint an older people’s commissioner for England—again, I know that the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam agrees.

Last Friday I visited the Rookery care home in Blaenau Gwent, now run by Four Seasons after the collapse of Southern Cross Healthcare. I saw how the implementation of the “Pearl” model of care for those suffering from dementia has seen medication levels plummet from around half to just 17% of residents. The staff were dedicated and caring; residents were comfortable and respected. That is the great care that everyone should receive.

A growing, complex market and tightening finances means that effective regulation and oversight is necessary. If neglect or abuse is found, those responsible must be held to account for their failures because the vulnerable and the frail have the same right to justice as everyone else. Older people should feel safe and secure in the place they call home.

6.39 pm

Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith), who raised a number of serious issues.

Some wide-ranging speeches have been made today, but I shall make a short speech, which will primarily concern the clauses in the Bill that relate to young people and their transition to adult social services. I have spoken on a number of occasions about my experience of working in the hospice movement, particularly the children’s hospice movement, over the last 20 years or so. During that time, I saw some incredible work done by the staff at the hospices, but, more important, I observed the tremendous dedication of the parents and families of the children who worked day and night to ensure that they were given the very best care.

When I joined the last hospice where I worked—Martin House, which at that time served most of Yorkshire—the construction of its new building, Whitby Lodge, had just been completed. The trustees of the charity had identified a real need, the need to look after those who could be described as the “older younger people”. As time has passed, many young people in hospices have been living longer. That is a good thing, but the theme in the children’s hospice became a little bit childish for those who were entering their teens.

In England, more than 40,000 children and young people aged between 0 and 19 currently have long-term health conditions that will eventually end most of their lives, and for which they may require palliative care. Owing to medical advances, more young people with a range of conditions are living into adulthood than ever before. The number has increased by some 30% over

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10 years, and the highest rate of increase is among those aged between 16 and 19, who now account for some 4,000—or one in 10—of those aged between 0 and 19 who need palliative care.

When I worked at Hope House children’s hospice in Oswestry, some of the young boys who suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy would be lucky to live beyond the age of 18. When I left Martin House, many were living into their late twenties. That is a great thing, of course, but it does mean that we must think about how we can help such young people. The majority of those who may require palliative care have a range of severe disabilities and complex health needs. Contrary to popular belief, cancer represents just under 14% of diagnoses; most of those young people have cognitive impairments, which means that that they lack capacity, and many are cared for over long periods by their parent carers.

Many young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions who are more cognitively able struggle to achieve independence and enter education or employment, because plans are not made for them. Those who are unlikely to be cured by treatment are offered palliative care. Palliative care for young people is not simply end-of-life care, but focuses on enhancing the quality of their lives. In their early to mid-teens, young people receive palliative care and other support from children’s services. In their later teens, they start to receive services from adult agencies which assume responsibility at different points after their 16th birthdays. The transition is often complex, and traumatic for families who are already coping with extremely difficult circumstances.

A successful transition needs to address both the transfer of responsibility for young people from children’s to existing adults’ social care, health and education services, and the development of new adult services that are tailored to young people’s additional needs. The transition needs to be planned for years in advance, but, at present, planning is often disjointed and poor. The reduced services and support routinely offered by adult agencies, which are often focused on older people and end-of-life care, come as a distressing shock to many young people and their families. Parents have described the transition as like “standing on the edge of a cliff, about to fall into a black hole”. Poor transitions lead to increased illness, adverse social and educational outcomes, and sometimes even premature death.

Let me ask the Minister some specific questions. Will the statutory guidance on the Bill’s transition clauses which the Department of Health is producing for local authorities ensure that when a child who needs services reaches the age of 14—and is likely to continue to need services as an adult—the local authority initiates advance planning of the care needs that that child will have as an adult? Will it ensure that, from the age of 14 and by the age of 16, every young person who needs services has a five-year rolling transition plan in place, which specifies when his or her needs assessment is likely to take place? Will it ensure that when a child who needs social care reaches the age of 14, the local authority initiates advance planning of the carer’s needs when the child reaches the age of 18? Finally, will it ensure that the full range of services that young people with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions will require as adults—including

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local authority housing services to help them to live independently—are involved in the transition planning process?

As I have said, it has been my privilege for many years to work with so many inspiring young people and their families. In the hospices where I have worked, I have seen the staff do incredibly hard and great work. They do a tremendous job in trying to help families through the minefield of the care system. I think that the Bill offers us a real opportunity to make things just a little easier for families who are looking after children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

6.46 pm

Hywel Williams (Arfon) (PC): it is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew). I know about the fine work that he did at Hope House, or Ty Gobaith as we call it in Wales. It serves both sides of the border, and that is relevant to some of my later remarks—which I hope will be brief, given that they are slightly tangential to the main thrust of the debate.

I speak as the co-author of a bilingual training package on social care, published in Wales some 20 years ago, entitled “Gofal”, which is Welsh for “care”. It marked the beginning of the divergence of social care in Wales from the care that was previously available in England and Wales. I want to say something about that difference and how it will be addressed.

I always supported real independence, choice and dignity for older and disabled people in my former life as a social worker and a social work teacher. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn), who is not in the Chamber now, referred to carers’ rights. I was one of the sponsors of the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004, which was promoted by the hon. Member for Aberavon (Dr Francis).

Let me now draw attention to some details that relate to the working of the Bill. Certain aspects of it are complex, given that social care has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly. In the other place, my noble Friend Lord Wigley asked some questions which, as far as I can see, have not yet been answered satisfactorily. I hope the Minister will tell us—or write to me about it later—what discussions have taken place between his Department and the Welsh Government.

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill is currently before the Assembly, and has now reached its Report stage. It is an important piece of legislation for Wales, and is similar to this Bill in many respects. It will increase the number of services for which people can claim a direct payment from the local authority, will introduce national eligibility criteria, and will provide for portable assessments to avoid the cost and trouble of reassessments.

Let me make a general point about funding. I understand that the Bill will require additional spending of about £1 billion in England. If I am correct—these are the figures I have been given—it would probably generate about £60 million of Barnett consequential spending in Wales. Will the Minister confirm whether a figure has been agreed, and if so, will he tell the House—or me later on—what it might be?

Particular circumstances apply in Wales. For historical and industrial reasons—the prevalence of heavy industry—Wales has higher levels of disability. Thousands of people retire from England to Wales—they are very

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welcome, but there is a cost implication. Wales has the highest proportion of older people of any country or region in the UK. Nearly one in four of our people are over 60, and that figure is expected to increase by a further 5% over the next 10 years. Any funding system based merely on total population will therefore inevitably generate inequalities. In passing, I refer to my concerns about the Government’s census proposals. I fear we might not have proper data in the future—but that is a debate for another time.

I am concerned that provisions in this Bill that have an England and Wales remit will impact on the changes taking place in Wales under the Welsh legislation I just mentioned and, equally, that changes in Wales will have implications for cross-border placements and the possibility of care packages. What discussions has the Minister had with officials in Cardiff? Have all outstanding issues been resolved? In particular, have we resolved the issues relating to social services assessments possibly being undertaken in Wales for persons who then move to England, and likewise of care packages for persons moving from England to Wales? It is a particular issue where I live and along the north-west Wales coast. If they speak later, other Welsh Members may refer to that as well.

The difficulties to which cross-border issues might give rise are covered in clause 37 and schedule 1, which relates to cross-border placements. Paragraph (1) deals with cross-border placements from England to Wales, but the schedule does not specify—or so it seems to me at least, but perhaps my reading has not been close enough—who is responsible for paying. Are the provisions in paragraph 1(5) meant to cover this? It is far from clear to me. Might this be a matter for regulations? Again, I would be glad to hear from the Minister, either later this evening or by other means. We need some reassurances on these matters. It is also less than clear that paragraph 6(2) and (3) are adequate to provide full recompense, where relevant, in all cases.

I turn to the proposed health research authority in clauses 107 to 114. Clause 109(3) and (4) state that the HRA’s remit is to promote the co-ordination of standardisation of practice in the UK in the regulation of social care. Particular aspects of social care in Wales require a specific approach. The socio-economic make-up of Wales is different. Gross value added levels in some areas of Wales are as much as 40% below average levels in the UK. The financial profile against which any new policy is set will inevitably differ in Wales and England and will have to allow for Wales’ significantly higher disability levels. Wales has already set a cap of £50 a week on charges for home care.

Finally—and perhaps inevitably for me—I turn to language and culture issues and draw the House’s attention to schedule 1(13). For reasons that will become obvious, I quote directly from the Bill:

“Am ddarpariaeth ynghylch lleoliadau trawsffiniol i Loegr, yr Alban neu Ogledd Iwerddon neu o Loegr, yr Alban neu Ogledd Iwerddon, gweler Atodlen 1 i Ddeddf Gofal 2014.”

That merely means:

“For provision about cross-border placements to and from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, see Schedule 1 to the Care Act 2014.”

I quote that merely to emphasise that Wales is another country and that we do things differently there. When cross-border assessments are made, language and culture

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issues are particularly important, and I hope that that will be taken into consideration. Clause 109(4) places a duty on the HRA and the devolved Administrations to co-operate with one another. I am curious to know how such a duty is to be enforced. What happens if disagreement arises, as inevitably it will, between conflicting expectations in Wales, Scotland and England? Does the Secretary of State in England have to act as a referee in such a dispute? I am not against such co-operation—very much the reverse—but the ground rules need to be clear.

6.55 pm

Mr David Ward (Bradford East) (LD): I had to leave the Chamber earlier, Madam Deputy Speaker, for an hour or so, but I assume we have been approached by similar groups and organisations that no doubt will have been quoted in previous speeches, so I might be able to curtail my remarks.

I begin by paying tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), who has been heavily involved in this issue from day one, with the inception of the White Paper. I thank him for coming to Bradford and talking to people there about local issues, and I welcome his contribution tonight. This is probably the most important Bill we will be considering this Parliament, because it deals with one of the most important areas of public policy that we have to face. There is no choice about it; it is something we have to face. It has been referred to over the years as a ticking time bomb. The good news, of course, is that people are living longer, but that will be accompanied by an enormous cost if we are to ensure that people are provided with the quality of care that they are entitled to and desperately need. It is hugely important.

Like the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham), I am confused by the reasoned amendment. I come from a place where people say what they mean and mean what they say, so I find it difficult to read a so-called reasoned amendment that is so scathing of a Bill and then listen to people say, “Well, actually, we’re not opposed to it and will not necessarily vote against it.” I do not understand that. Perhaps this is just a really strange place that I still need to spend more time in before I understand those things.

As I understand it, a Second Reading debate is about the principles, which is why I will avoid going into too many details. From my experience of working with many organisations and groups in the past few years, including very closely in the past 18 months or so, it seems to me that the principles in the Bill are pretty well applauded out there. There is a general acceptance that something needs to be done and that this is a pretty good attempt to lay down some basic principles. That was why the initial skirmishes and exchanges were disappointing.

Paul Burstow: My hon. Friend has taken a close interest in, and campaigned on, the Bill during its passage through the other place, and he said how widely welcomed it was outside the House. Would he be interested to know, therefore, that in almost every session of the scrutiny of the draft Bill—