Queen’s Speech a ‘missed opportunity’ to reform care, warn charity leaders

Charity leaders in the care sector have reacted angrily to a lack of detail in the government’s Queen’s Speech for reforming the care sector.

The Queen’s Speech states that “proposals on social care reform will be brought forward" but did not specify any details.

Independent Age chief executive Deborah Alsina said: “After years of delays and broken promises, we are extremely disappointed by the lack of detailed policy announcements in the Queen's Speech to reform adult social care.

Alsina added: “Over the last few months we have seen how quickly government can spring into action when motivated to do so... Similar levels of energy and commitment are needed when it comes to reforming social care for everyone who needs it.

“The government must meet the moment and deliver bold reforms to ensure that those in later life and their families can live with dignity, choice and purpose.”

Meanwhile, Kisharon chief executive Richard Franklin said that while the government’s promise to reform social care is welcome, the lack of detail “reveals a continued absence of consensus of how those promises will be delivered”.

“Not for Profit organisations embedded and accountable within their local communities understand what learning disability, mental health and elder social care can look like –which is diametrically opposed to tragedies seared in the memories of all impacted by the covid pandemic.

“Cross-Parliamentary Groups, alongside local charities, providers and their representative bodies are absolutely willing to work hand in hand with any Government, to ensure people of all ages with social care needs live with independence, well-being and dignity.”

Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said that the Queen’s Speech was a “missed opportunity” to reveal details of how social care can be reformed adding that the issues “has been kicked into the long grass again”.

“Without the much needed, not to mention heralded, reform it is questionable as to how much longer the sector can be expected to limp on,” he said.

“A sector that supports and employs vast swathes of the population cannot be ignored.”

He added “Sadly, we have been here before and it is simply unfathomable as to what will influence the government to bring about reform; surely they can’t be waiting for provider failure and further chaos in the already overstretched NHS. The oven-ready plan is truly burning, or maybe the government forgot to ever put it in the oven."

NCVO public affair manager Chris Walker notes that the lack of a social care bill in the Queen’s Speech “unsurprisingly has caused concern for a number of charities”.

Online safety

Meanwhile, the Queen’s Speech, which outlines the government's policy plans for the coming year, also pledged legislation to regulate the internet to protect children and vulnerable adults. The move has been welcomed by Barnardo's Chief Executive Javed Khan.

“We have been awaiting the Online Safety Bill for several years now and it’s vital the Government brings it forward as quickly as possible, he said.

“Every day, children across the UK are suffering harm online, and the risk has only increased during Covid-19. Any further delay to legislation will mean children are left unprotected for longer.”

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