Adult social care reform gets mention in Queen’s Speech

The Queen stated in the Queen’s speech on 14 October 2019: “My Government will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care in England to ensure dignity in old age” .

The Government has published a briefing pack alongside the speech and it speaks of steps already taken to increase funding to local authorities and the desire to ensure that the sector is sustainable.

The briefing paper is scant on detail about how the adult social care sector is to be “fixed” but legislative changes are promised. Interestingly under the key facts section of the briefing on adult social care it is noted that a 65-year old person can expect care costs of £40,000 in later life. 10% of people will have care costs over £100,000 whilst 25% of people will not incur any care costs. The note suggests that most people are unaware of care costs because of a lack of understanding on how they are calculated and the amount that care costs can amount to. It would appear that increased understanding by all is the path to solving the adult social care crisis in the Government’s eyes’. There does not appear to be any desire to look at the true cost of care and reforming how it is calculated in order to redress the imbalance between the local authority funded clients and those privately funded clients.

In the shadow of Brexit negotiations and the uncertainty about the Government’s longer term agenda and position some commentators have read this Queen’s speech more generally as setting out the Government’s stall for an election. Most commentators do not expect the Queen’s speech to pass the first round of voting in parliament next week (which would be the first time it has been defeated since 1924) but it is indicative of the position of the Government in situ as at today’s date. For adult social care we do still await more detail on precisely how the sector is to be reformed to make it more sustainable for all.