Barbara has brought forward a Private Members Bill to improve quality of life for carers and for people with disabilities. The Bill aimed to ensure better care services and would have put a duty on to local councils to assess if local social care services were sufficient to ensure carers and disabled people to continue to work.
The Bill won the backing of employers including BT, British Gas and Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the business forum, Employers for Carers. The Bill was also supported by 27 charities, including Carers UK, Carers Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope and Age UK and by thousands of individual carers. However, the Conservative-led government chose not to support the Bill and the debate on it was talked out by Conservative MPs, including the MP for Bury North.
Barbara and a cross-party group of 11 other MPs wanted to introduce the Social Care (Local Sufficiency) and Identification of Carers Bill. Besides the new provisions for councils, the Bill required GP’s, schools, colleges and universities to have policies to identify people who are carers and to make sure they know where to go for advice and support.
The new Minister for Care Services, Norman Lamb MP, has however agreed to work with Barbara to see how the key issues she raised could be included into the government’s own draft Care and Support Bill.
“The Bill has won cross-party backing and great support from employers, charities and thousands of individual carers. I was sorry that the Government decided to oppose the Bill. Doing this lets down carers and means that they may be missing advice and support as they do not know where to go for help. Employers supported the bill as it would have meant better services for families, employers being helped to retain skilled staff and a real boost to economic growth.
“I believe we must support carers who struggle the need to continue working alongside their caring commitments and. Carers contribute so much to family life and local communities. My Bill would have helped to ensure they are identified and that services are in place to help them work alongside caring. This would have been good for them and have helped business and the economy.
“I will continue my work on this in Parliament and I welcome the fact that the new Care Services Minister has promised to look at including some elements of the Bill in the Government’s own draft Care and Support Bill.”
To read Barbara’s speech in Parliament click here.
You can hear coverage of the debate on the Today programme by clicking here.