"I welcome the extra funds for the NHS, but the Government seems to have forgotten that health and social services need to work closely together. Investment in social services takes pressure off the NHS. Once again, they have starved social services of the funds they need, which I why I pressed the Chancellor about this."
The exchange from Hansard is below:
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): Does the Chancellor accept that the NHS, for which the Government have responsibility, has consistently done better than social services, for which local government has responsibility? Will he confirm that he has done the same today? Does he recognise that local authorities are now spending billions more than their formula spending assessments on social services and are increasingly having to ration care and introduce charges? Would it not have been preferable, if we want to take some of the pressure off council tax, if we believe in joined-up government, and if we want to spend effectively on individuals, to have a better balance between health and social services?
Mr. Darling: I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. It is important to ensure that social services are properly funded. In my statement I announced a number of measures to help elderly people in particular, and also those with disabilities. We have increased the amount of money going to local government. It is obviously for individual councils to decide how they allocate that money. I believe that we have provided resources, through the health service and local government, to enable councils and others to make improvements to provide the care that we all want to see.