Disappointment as Queen’s speech fails to mention housing
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government
Disappointment as Queen’s speech fails to mention housing
The Shadow Housing Minister has expressed disappointment that the Queen failed to cover housing in her speech to both Houses of Parliament.
Labour MP Jack Dromey immediately tweeted after the speech: “Britain suffering from biggest housing crisis in a generation. Yet not one mention of housing in the Queen’s Speech. No hope of new homes.”
He said it was a "pity" the housing minister Grant Shapps did not get even a mention of housing in the speech. Mr Shapps' Twitter page, meanwhile, carried an image of the Queen's carriage.
He Tweeted: “Picture I snapped of a carriage awaiting Her Majesty from within the grounds of the House of Lords,” before linking to the snap.
Things the speech did manage to cover included the Green Investment Bank, the Small Donations Bill, the Draft Local Audit Bill, the Children and Families Bill and the Draft Care and Support Bill.
Mr Dromey tweeted in reaction to the speech: “Social Care in crisis. Dilnot delayed. Response of Government? A Draft Bill. New settlement on Social Care kicked into the long grass.”
Of the Children and Families Bill, the Queen said: “My Government will propose measures to improve provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs. New arrangements will be proposed to support children involved in family law cases, reform court processes for children in care and strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner."
There has also been criticism of the speech from one of the leading voices in care and support.
Rachel Bryne, Home Group executive director of care & support, expressed concern that the Government’s timetable for dealing with urgent funding issues would delay help reaching those who needed it most, saying any delays would ultimately cost taxpayers more while having a damaging impact on the quality of people’s lives.
Bryne said: “While I welcome care and support being included in today’s Queen’s Speech, it is a cause for concern that the Government plans this as a draft bill rather than full-blown legislation.
“The Dilnot commission recognised that the care system is broken and needs urgent remedy. Early intervention is essential both to improve the lives of the individual but also in delivering vast savings for the public purse. Let’s be clear – care can’t wait.
“Home Group was the first social housing provider to sign up to the Care & Support Alliance as we recognise the vital impact that the right care has for society’s most vulnerable. We will continue to lobby as part of this group for the vital role of care and support to be pushed up the political agenda.”
A more detailed look at some of the speech’s key elements is as follows:
Green Investment Bank
The Queen said: “Enshrining the ‘green’ purpose of the bank, providing powers for it to operate including funding and ensuring its operational independence from Government.”
The Green Investment Bank will address the long-standing problem of under-investment by accelerating private sector investment in the transition to a green economy. Working to a ‘double bottom line’ it would help achieve significant green impact and make financial returns.
Small Donations Bill
Said the Queen: “A Bill will be introduced to reduce burdens on charities, enabling them to claim additional payments on small donations.”
The purpose of the Bill is to help the charitable sector by boosting the income of charities, particularly small charities, and reducing their administrative burdens as they would not need to collect Gift Aid declarations on all their small donations.
The main benefits of the Bill include: increasing the income of charities, particularly small charities, that receive small donations from the public and simplifying the administration for charities to obtain top-up payments on small donations.
The main elements of the Bill are: providing a top-up payment similar to Gift Aid to charities that receive small cash donations of £20 or less, enabling them to claim 25p for every £1 collected in the UK, on up to £5,000 of small donations; ensuring that the scheme is fair so that small local charities carrying out charitable activities in local communities would be entitled to similar levels of top-up payments as larger national charities undertaking similar activities; protecting the scheme from excessive claims by limiting payments to charities that are connected with one another and which operate broadly as a single entity; Protecting the scheme against fraud by requiring charities to have a three-year track record of successfully claiming Gift Aid and to continue making Gift Aid claims to benefit from the scheme.
Draft Local Audit Bill
Her Majesty said: “A draft Bill will be published setting out measures to close the Audit Commission and establish new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies.”
The purpose of the draft Bill is to abolish the Audit Commission and set out the new regulatory framework for the audit of local public bodies.
The main benefits of the draft Bill include: making significant savings to the public purse; giving local bodies freedom to manage their own audit arrangements; increasing local accountability and transparency; aligning the regulatory regime for audit in the private and public sectors.
The main elements of the draft Bill are: the abolishment of the Audit Commission; the requirement of local bodies to appoint their own auditors on the advice of an independent auditor panel; the setting up a new regulatory regime for local public audit, more closely aligned with the regulatory framework for audit in the private sector, with the Financial Reporting Council as the overall regulator; the transference of responsibility for developing and publishing the Code of Audit Practice for local public audit to the National Audit Office (subject to Parliamentary approval).
Children and Families Bill
The purpose of the Bill is to break down barriers stopping parents and carers getting the support they need – making it easier for parents to share caring responsibilities; giving families more choice and control over specialist special educational needs care; and supporting the most vulnerable children, including those in care or whose parents have separated.
The main benefits of the Bill would be: the cutting of red tape and delays in giving early specialist support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities – the biggest reforms for 30 years; cutting the time ethnic minority children wait to be adopted; the reformation of the family justice system to speed up care proceedings.
Draft Care and Support Bill
The Queen said: “A draft Bill will be published to modernise adult care and support in England.”
The purpose of the draft Bill is to set out what support people could expect from Government and what action the Government would take to help them to plan, prepare and make informed choices about their care. The draft Bill would provide greater clarity and equity of access to care and support.
The main benefits of the draft Bill would be: modernising care and support law to ensure local authorities fit their service around the needs, outcomes and experience of people, rather than expecting them to adapt to what is available locally; putting people in control of their care and give them greater choice, building on progress with personal budgets.
Image courtesy of G Shapps, Twitter