Queen’s speech 2012: Draft bill on social care announced

Who should pay to look after the elderly and disabled?

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News

The Queen’s Speech

A draft bill on overhauling care and support for elderly and disabled people in England has been announced in the Queen’s Speech.

The bill will put “people in control of their care and give them greater choice,” ministers say.

The contentious issue of how social care is paid for is still unclear.

This week, charities and the Local Government Association called for radical change to prevent people being left “living in misery and fear”.

Discussions are currently taking place between the political parties on how social care should be reformed. A White Paper was expected before Easter, but is now due to be published later this month or in June.

‘Simplify’ the law

A Department of Health source said the government was determined to push ahead with plans to tackle social care, but this would take time.

The draft bill would aim to simplify the law on social care, which is currently spread across “at least a dozen acts”.


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It will be impossible to effectively reform social care without tackling the all important issue of funding”

Katherine Murphy Patients Association

In 2011, an independent review recommended a cap of £35,000 on the amount people would have to pay for social care.

Only those with less than £23,250 of assets are offered council-funded home help and care-home places. The review said that threshold should rise to £100,000.

Following those recommendations would cost an extra £1.7bn a year, the report said.

Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “We are encouraged that the issue of adult social care was included in the Queen’s Speech, but what was not said was deeply worrying.

“It will be impossible to effectively reform social care without tackling the all important issue of funding.

“We urge the Government to publicly clarify the issue of funding for social care and give a clear indication of whether any legislation being considered on the issue will address changes to funding for social care.”

The chairman of the Local Government Association, Sir Merrick Cockell, said described the announcement as a “positive step”.

He said: “We understand that reform is not an easy problem to solve and we know that reform comes with a price tag. But we believe it’s a price worth paying.”


One Response to Queen’s speech 2012: Draft bill on social care announced

  1. janet says:

    Regarding payment for care. Carers allowance is paid out of the disabled persons disability premium if the person is in receipt of this. If the carer is caring for someone not getting the premium it appears that c/a is given to carer
    automatically. No wonder many carers dont apply for this benefit. Its a shame that both carers and disabled
    people find living a struggle. No wonder many are committing sucide. No doubt this appears to be a better
    option than living.

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