United Kingdom

Queen's Speech will not include nursing bill relief for families with elderly relatives 

Ministers are set to miss another chance to tackle the social care crisis this week.

Detailed measures to fix the broken sector are not expected in tomorrow's Queen's Speech despite Boris Johnson earlier suggesting they would be.

Instead, the Government has vowed to set out plans in the coming 'weeks and months' but these may not come in front of Parliament before the end of the year.

Yesterday campaigners called for decisive action as a poll showed that voters want reform of the care sector.

The survey found that two-thirds think social care should be a top priority while nearly half do not believe that ministers care enough about older people and their needs.

Ministers are set to miss another chance to tackle the social care crisis this week. Detailed measures to fix the broken sector are not expected in tomorrow's Queen's Speech despite Boris Johnson earlier suggesting they would be. Instead, the Government has vowed to set out plans in the coming 'weeks and months' but these may not come in front of Parliament before the end of the year [Stock image]

Earlier this year, Mr Johnson said it was 'highly likely' that ministers would bring forward a clear plan to 'fix' the problems in the Queen's Speech.

But sources have now indicated there will be a reference to social care plans in the speech but they will not actually be set out, suggesting any measures are not ready.

What you CAN expect from the Queen's Speech 

- Crime Bill to keep dangerous offenders in jail for longer and tackle knife crime by extending the use of stop and search

- Online Harms Bill to tackle social media

- Plans to tackle the backlog of NHS operations and cancer treatment due to Covid

- Environment Bill, which will set legally binding emissions targets ahead of the UK-led Cop26 climate summit

- Bill on skills and education to help young people find jobs and boost skills

- Animal Welfare Bill to ensure animals are recognised as sentient beings, increase sentences for animal cruelty and ban trophy hunters importing endangered 'prizes'

Wrangling between No 10 and the Chancellor about the huge costs of reform – perhaps as high as £10billion a year – is said to have delayed progress.

Instead, new animal rights laws and the controversial policing Bill are likely to be included when the Queen sets out the Government's legislative programme in her speech in the House of Lords.

Asked yesterday if a plan would be announced tomorrow, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove indicated this was unlikely. 

'We'll be saying more about social care in the weeks and months to come,' he told Sky News's Sophy Ridge show.

Asked why there was still no plan, Mr Gove said ministers had 'quite rightly' been concentrating on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

'People will also expect, of course, a new plan for social care to be developed and that plan will be unveiled later this year,' he added.

In a later interview, Mr Gove said a reform plan will be 'heading for the statute books' by the end of the year. 

'We're working to make sure we have an effective social care plan. That work is going on,' he told Times Radio.

'So, by the end of the year you will have a specific plan heading for the statute books. We want to make sure that we can get cross-party support.

'That's the point the Prime Minister has always made. The more support we can get for it, the quicker we can be.'

In March, Mr Johnson told the Commons liaison committee it was 'highly likely' social care reforms would be in the Queen's Speech. 

He said a ten-year plan was needed to bridge 'the gulf between the NHS and social care into which so many fall'. 

Yesterday campaigners called for decisive action as a poll showed that voters want reform of the care sector. The survey found that two-thirds think social care should be a top priority while nearly half do not believe that ministers care enough about older people and their needs [Stock image]

In his first speech as Prime Minister in July 2019, Mr Johnson had declared: 'We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared.' However, little progress has been made.

Yesterday's poll on the issue was carried out for care charity MHA. Chief executive Sam Monaghan said: 'There have been green papers, white papers, commissions, reviews, yet still the system remains broken. What we now need is decisive action.'

Vic Rayner, chief executive of the National Care Forum, added: 'We need to move from rhetoric to action. Now is the time for long-term ambition not yet another quick fix.'

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: 'Improving the adult social care system remains a priority and we will bring forward proposals later this year.'

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