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Queen’s Speech: How did it affect carers?

This week, and with a great deal of pomp and ceremony, the Queen delivered her speech to parliament. This is a really important moment in the political calendar. It’s when we get to hear what the government plans to do for the coming year. For Carers Trust, our instant thoughts on hearing the speech are: “How will these plans affect carers?” and “What should we do about it?”

How will the plans affect carers?

Our response: a bit of a cocktail.

On the one hand, we heard that the government will continue to merge health and social care services. This is good news. It means that carers, and the people they care for, needing to access support should no longer feel like they’re being pushed from pillar to post. We’re also pleased that the government intends to support the implementation of the NHS Five Year Forward View – a major plan for reforming the NHS which includes some specific commitments to increase the help given to carers.

On the other hand, some of the statements made in the speech left us concerned about the government’s commitment to supporting carers and our social care services.

The government plans to give more power for social care to local councils in Britain’s major cities. Our response to this is simple: will local authorities be given the financial resources they need to take on these new powers? If not, it’ll be like giving a child a new toy but without the batteries needed to run it. The Better Care Fund (or BCF) project is looking to merge health and social care funding at a local level but we have not yet been convinced that a decent amount of that Fund will be used to shore-up our ailing social services. The government must ensure that where responsibility for social care goes, funding instantly follows. If not a great strain will be put on those services, such as our very own Network Partners, that are working so hard to support carers and the people they care for.

The government also announced plans to reduce the benefit cap. The cap sets a limit on the amount of money that people can receive in benefits. Previously it was set at £26,000 per year but is now being cut to just £23,000 per year.

Since one of the benefits included in the cap is Carers Allowance, if a household isn’t otherwise exempt, the announcement has left us concerned that the rug is being pulled from underneath people already struggling financially. Reducing benefits for disabled people, older people and their families and carers, risks throwing families into dire financial difficulties.

What we will do about it

Carers Trust will push for the changes we like and make sure a solid case is made against those we’re not so sure about!

In particular, we will be asking politicians to:

  • Ensure that when power over healthcare is rolled-out to the nation’s cities, the government knows that the funds are in place for authorities to maintain and develop their local social care services
  • Protect carers’ benefits
  • Make sure social care services do not lose out as funding for health and social care budgets may be further pooled
  • The needs of carers are at the forefront of future NHS reforms.

We will continue to keep you updated on how the government’s plans, and our influence on them, develop and highlight any opportunities you have to get involved in our campaigns. In the meantime, if you have any queries about any of the above, please contact our Policy and Campaigns Officer Matt Hawkins on mhawkins@carers.org.


Matt Hawkins is Policy and Campaigns Officer at Carers Trust


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May 29, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Once again the queen’s speech meant only more
    FEAR ANXIETY DEPRESSION. and all supplied by right wing government full of hatchet merchants who CARE nothing for the
    VULNERABLE DISABLED CARERS
    Maybe those who voted for our present government will regret the consequences of there actions because one day they may need a CARER.

    Comment by taras kurylak | May 29, 2015 | Reply

  2. I agree with Moira that the Health and Social Care merger is good news, yet as everyone who knows our campaign that working carers being excluded from equality with regards paid leave will continue. Under the Children & Families Act Pre-Adoptive Parents are now entitled to paid leave, But why should working carers be seen as only worthy of unpaid leave or flexible working… Flexible working is not always convenient to employers as during the economic problems companies have streamlined their workforce and nobody can afford unpaid leave…

    Comment by Christopher Jeffery (@MendingTheGap) | May 30, 2015 | Reply


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