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Crunch debate for new care bill at Westminster

06 September 2012

MPs urged to support business-backed care Bill to support ‘work, families and the economy’

Today (Friday 7th September) MPs will debate a backbench Bill to improve support services for carers and disabled people. A cross-party group of MPs, led by Barbara Keeley MP, has brought forward the Social Care (Local Sufficiency) and Identification of Carers Bill, designed to ensure disabled people and carers have access to support services to allow them to stay in or return to work.

Mirroring transformative duties on councils to promote childcare, the Bill would stimulate provision of care services, ensuring enough are available in each local area to allow families to work alongside caring for ill or disabled loved ones, and to support disabled people to work. The legislation would also place duties on GPs, NHS and social care staff to identify and support family members taking on caring responsibilities for older or disabled people. 

In addition to support across the charity sector including from Carers UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope and Age UK; the Bill has won key backing from employers including BT, British Gas and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Supporters of the Bill argue that, just as childcare duties brought about a revolution in provision allowing parents of young children to work; duties on councils to ensure sufficient care and support services for older and disabled people, would reduce worklessness and the numbers of essential staff quitting their jobs to care. 

Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT Group and Chair of business forum Employers for Carers, said: “We are seeing the mounting costs, not just to families but to business of a care system that often cannot support carers trying to juggle work with care. Stimulating the care market can deliver an economic triple win – better services for families, the infrastructure to help employers retain skilled staff and a real boost to economic growth. The debate started 20 years ago with childcare and there is now a pressing need to bring the same focus and progress to care for older and disabled people. This Bill would start this important process by placing a duty on local authorities to ensure a supply of care as is already the case with childcare.”

Barbara Keeley MP, who is promoting the Bill, said: “Families and businesses are now feeling the combined effects of a growing demographic challenge and the economic crisis. This Bill would help ensure that the services are in place to keep families in work alongside caring responsibilities. This is vital for carers themselves but also for business and the wider economy. The cross-party support for this Bill shows the growing recognition from all parties of the critical role that care services play in supporting families, employers and the economy.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “With rapidly increasing numbers of older and disabled people it is essential that workplaces and services adapt to the new reality of family life. We know around 1 million people have already had to reduce working hours or quit their jobs to care for ill or disabled loved ones, and disabled people are often unable to get the support they need to work. This Bill could represent a step-change in how care services are delivered that supports families, work and economic growth and productivity.”

The Bill will be debated by MPs on Friday, when Barbara Keeley MP will be joined by the Bill’s Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green co-sponsors, including Dr Hywel Francis MP, who has piloted through previous successful carers’ rights Private Members Bills; Sir Tony Baldry MP; Sarah Newton MP, Laura Sandys MP, Stephen Lloyd MP, Annette Brooke MP, Diana Johnson MP, Sharon Hodgson MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Alex Cunningham MP and Caroline Lucas MP. 

Organisations and individuals can add their support here...


Steve McIntosh, Carers UK
Tel: 0207 378 4937
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chloe Wright, Carers UK
Tel: 0207 378 4942
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Charities supporting the Bill: Carers UK, Age UK, Disability Rights UK, Marie Curie Cancer Carers UK, Scope, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Carers Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Parkinson’s UK, RNIB, Independent Age, Rethink Mental Illness, Action for Children, MND Association, British Association of Social Workers, Arthritis Care, Home Group, Real Life Options, National Family Carer Network, Autism-in-Mind, British Polio Fellowship, United Response, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Multiple System Atrophy Trust, Grandparents Plus.



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