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The Queen’s Speech: What it means for carers

Each year the Queen opens a new session of Parliament with a speech setting out the Government’s legislative plans for the forthcoming session.

The speech in May 2013 set out nineteen pieces of legislation or draft legislation for 2013-14.

Alongside bills on immigration, consumer rights and crime the Government plans two significant pieces of legislation for carers – care and support services and pensions. This briefing summarises what these pieces of legislation would mean for carers.

For more details about the other legislation in the Queen’s Speech visit www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/queens-speech-2013.

The Care and Support Bill

The Queen’s Speech confirmed that new care and support legislation will soon be considered by Parliament. The new Bill will consolidate the framework of social care law, introduce greater rights to assessments and services for carers, and implement recommendations made by the Dilnot Commission on long-term care funding, including introducing a cap on care costs and raising the financial means test.

Much of the Bill’s clauses on the reform of care and support have already been published in the form of the Draft Care and Support Bill which was considered in detail by a Parliamentary Committee. Carers UK has warmly welcomed the draft provisions but we have also called for a number of important changes when the final Bill is presented to Parliament, and have argued that to make the principles of the Bill a reality, urgent action will be needed to tackle the social care funding gap. A full briefing on our key tests for the Bill is available at www.carersuk.org/professionals/resources/briefings

The Pensions Bill

A Bill to reform the State Pension will also be debated. The Government plans to introduce a single flat-rate pension to replace the current system which includes the Basic State Pension, the Second State Pension and means-tested support for pensioners on low incomes. The Government has said that this single-tier pension will be set above the basic level of means-tested support pensioners receive from Pension Credit – which would currently be £142.70 for a single pensioner.

The Government argues that this would simplify the pensions system and make it easier for people to plan for retirement.

Carers UK has welcomed key parts of the reforms as a way of better protecting people with broken National Insurance records – including many carers. The Government announced in the Budget that these reforms would now be implemented in 2016, sooner than expected, which should mean that more people benefit, including some groups who were due to retire before the changes were implemented and were at risk of missing out.

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54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
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