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Queen's Speech 2017: What it means for carers

21 June 2017

Responding to the Queen’s Speech today (21 June 2017), 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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