Making sure that social care in Britain is put on a stable, sustainable footing is one of the most important challenges facing the Government.
This is an issue which affects all of us, from every region and every walk of life. We all want to ensure that our loved ones can be sure of receiving the high-quality care they need, when they need here.
I know that this is a particular concern here in Solihull. Our town has an ageing population, and by 2036 the Council predict that one in four of our population will be over 65 and fully five per cent will be over 85. And when I’m canvassing on the doorstep I regularly meet people quietly looking after relatives behind closed doors.
That’s why I’m so pleased that, earlier this month, the Government announced an extra £240 million of additional funding for councils to spend on adult social care services – over £870,000 of which is earmarked for Solihull.
Ministers have made these funds available in order to alleviate pressure on the NHS, which always comes under additional strain during winter. It will free up hospital beds, helping patients get home faster by ensuring that they can still receive the care they need.
I spoke in a House of Commons debate on this subject just last week, and the Health Secretary personally expressed his gratitude for my work campaigning for this social care boost to NHS services. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that the voices of Solihull’s older residents and carers are heard loud and clear in Westminster.
Last week I also had the pleasure of meeting a local war hero who had just received France’s highest military award. The ex-serviceman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been awarded the Legion of Honour for his service during the D-Day landings.
It was fascinating to hear his stories about deploying across the Channel via glider, rescuing fellow soldiers from a wrecked aircraft, and surviving an artillery bombardment – he still has the shrapnel in his shoulder today!
The French Government has announced that any living British serviceman who fought to liberate France is eligible for the Légion d'Honneur. It can be a time-consuming process, but I am glad to have helped this gentleman through the process and would be very happy to do the same for other local residents.
Originally published in the Solihull News, 12/10/18.