Government Fails to Support Carers Bill

Carers UK has expressed disappointment that the Government has today refused to support a backbench Bill designed to improve identification of carers and improve access to services to support carers and disabled people.

The Bill was sponsored by a cross-party group of backbench MPs and was backed by Carers UK along with charities like Age UK, Scope, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Alzheimer’s Society and employers including BT and British Gas.

In a crunch debate in Parliament, Care Services Minister Norman Lamb MP said that he agreed with many of the principles of the Bill, but that the Government had reservations about putting duties on councils to ensure sufficient supply of care services or duties on education and health bodies on carer identification. He also said that, as Government prepared to bring together all social care legislation into one law through the Care and Support Bill, he was not in favour of a separate new Bill.

However the Minister did commit to working with the MPs putting forward the Bill and with Carers UK and other organisations to see how the principles of the Bill could be included in the Government’s own legislation.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “This is a missed opportunity to bring about a step-change in the provision of care services which could enable carers to live lives alongside caring. However this debate raised some critical issues in Parliament and we pay tribute to Barbara Keeley MP and the eleven co-sponsors of the Bill for all their work championing carers’ needs.

Whilst this Bill is unlikely to progress, the Government has said it will work with us to look at how the principles of the Bill can be taken forward. We are determined to continue this fight for services and support which give carers the help they need to stay healthy, enjoy good family and social lives and work where possible as they care.”

Latest news on the Bill

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress

Summary of the Bill

A Bill to require health bodies and general medical practitioners, and certain other organisations, to identify patients who are carers or who have a carer; to require identified carers to be referred to sources of help and support and to make further provision in relation to such arrangements; to make provision in relation to the responsibilities of local authorities and schools for the needs of young carers and their families; and for connected purposes