On 11 May, the Queen’s Speech set out the Government’s agenda for the next session of Parliament.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:
“After an awful lot of dithering the Government has finally nailed its colours to the mast by formally committing to social care reform this year. The question now is how good the Government’s proposals will be, not whether there will be any at all, so this is an important step forward for the millions of older and disabled people and carers who deserve so much better than what’s often on offer to them today.
“Ministers have made it clear that they see a cap on sky high care costs as the centrepiece of their reforms, because it is so evidently unfair for anyone to be financially ruined by long term care bills. However, this is not the only unfairness in how care operates today, and it would be a bizarre outcome if we gave more protection to home owners, while leaving those with fewer assets to the current underfunded system. This would especially disadvantage sick and disabled adults who have just as much right to decent care as older people. So as well as bringing forward some kind of cap, there is no avoiding the need for the Government to invest billions more into care – topping council budgets back up again after having allowed them to fall so disastrously over the last decade.
“The final essential element is the need for the Government to professionalise the care workforce, giving care workers the terms and conditions, and career structure, that should rightfully be theirs’ after their magnificent performance during the pandemic. It’s high time we ended the situation in which care staff are constantly the poor relations of their equivalents in the NHS.”
“If the Government brings forward a package of reforms of scale and ambition, backed up by the funding required, we will be able to hold our heads up high again as a nation, consigning our current, shamefully neglected social care system to the past, where it belongs. If this happens older and disabled people, and their carers, will be able to breathe more easily, confident that they will get the help they know they need.”