Industry Reacts To Queen/s Speech

The government has abandoned many of its flagship election manifesto policies, in particular a “overhaul of social care” which was dubbed a “Dementia tax”, and the scrapping of the pension triple lock. The so-called dimension tax were plans were presented for pensioners to pay for their social care down to the last £100,000 were abandoned after a huge outcry. The means testing winter fuel payments to help pay for heating bills has also been abandoned.

Industry spokes people have given their views.

Neil Heslop, CEO of Leonard Cheshire Disability said:

“We are deeply concerned by the lack of details on proposed action on the social care crisis in the Queen’s Speech today. We repeat our urgent calls for a long-term, cross party solution to funding social care. Without that, we fear social care reform is doomed to fail, and will not address fundamental gaps in help for disabled people.

“Millions of people are affected by the social care crisis, but working age disabled adults make up a third of social care users and just under half of disabled adults who say they need social care do not receive any support at all. It is hugely disappointing that their needs seem to have disappeared from the Government’s priorities.

“We are pleased the speech mentioned disability discrimination, as politicians also need to face up to the scandalous waste of talent in this country, as a result of barriers to employment for disabled people. Expansion and reform of the Access to Work scheme is essential, as it provides vital support for disabled people and employers. We hope the new government will now offer clarity on its plans to stop disabled people being needlessly locked out of jobs.”

Mental Health Network chief executive Sean Duggan said:

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to prioritising mental health and the planned reform of mental health legislation which is much needed. The Mental Health Act has played an important role in supporting people who have reached the point of crisis, but it is nearly 35 years old and clearly needs refreshing.
“It would have been a mistake to scrap it and start from scratch without undertaking a full review. So we support the proposal for reform and in particular identifying why the number of detentions under the act have risen by around 10 per cent year-on-year since 2010/11.”

Bridget Warr CBE, UKHCA’s Chief Executive said:

“UKHCA welcomes the Government’s pledge to address the challenges of social care and bring forward proposals for consultations on the sector. This is vital and urgent.

“The UK needs plans to guarantee a long term sustainable solution to ensure people needing care are properly supported and homecare providers are able to continue delivering that care into the future.

“We must ensure that the consultation adds up to more than just words and results in real positive action.

“It is also vitally important that we do not let the consultation take focus away from the need to address the pressing issues of providing services today. We need the government to make sure that funding provided in the current financial year is adequate and reaches front-line services, where it can make a difference.”

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“We welcome the Government’s promise to create an economy that ‘works for everyone’ and this must include unpaid carers, who support family and friends who are disabled, ill or older. Carers UK’s research has found an intrinsic link between social care, carers’ workplace rights and mental health policy in supporting carers, so these priorities are particularly welcome.

The Government’s announcement that it wishes to improve social care and bring forward proposals for consultation is promising. Carers UK’s evidence shows the shortfall in funding for social care results in long waiting times for carers’ assessments, low outcomes from assessments, a fall in the number of people receiving social care and a worrying increase in the ill-health of carers.

At a time when 74% of the public believe carers to be insufficiently valued, it is vital that upcoming social care proposals are developed in consultation with carers. Any policies must recognise and support the role of family and friends and provide a system of funding services which is fair, affordable and pools risk. After decades of working on future funding, we have to ensure that we see more investment in social care. We look forward to working with Government to achieve this goal.

We also welcome statements that Ministers will seek to enhance rights and protections in the modern workplace and we urge the Government to legislate with working carers in mind. It is vital that the Government takes this opportunity to modernise workers’ rights to reflect our ageing workforce and makes the challenges of juggling work and care easier. Carers UK will press the Government to bring forward paid care leave as a vital step towards this ambition. Our research also shows that comparatively, we are falling behind similar economies when it comes to carers’ workplace rights. We look forward to working with Government to provide the evidence and insight into improving carers’ workplace rights.

Finally, we are pleased to support the Government’s pledge to improve mental health legislation.  In our 2016 State of Caring survey of 6,000 carers across the UK, Carers UK found that those caring for people with mental illness were least likely to receive a carer’s assessment, or feel that they were valued. It is time to redress the imbalance of mental health and ensure that families who are care are recognised and supported.”

 

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