Queen's Speech: Coalition reaches out to women with pensions and new rights for carers – if councils can afford it

Promise of support for relatives helping loved ones puts pressure on local budgets

Hundreds of thousands of carers will be promised new rights in the Queen’s Speech tomorrow as the number of elderly and vulnerable people being looked after by family members continues to soar.

The move is designed to relieve the pressure on people – mainly women – who have to give up jobs to care for ailing relatives. But it is likely to be greeted sceptically by councils facing cuts to care budgets running into billions of pounds as austerity bites.

With the population rapidly ageing, the number of people caring for an elderly relative with dementia is forecast to grow by more than 150,000 by the year 2021.

There are estimated to be almost seven million people in Britain who spend some time looking after a relative, many of whom suffer depression and exhaustion as a result of the strain.

A Health and Social Care Bill will give them the statutory right to ask for support in the form of financial support, back-up help from professional carers or adaptations to their home to relieve the burden.

If their requests are turned down, councils will have to give a detailed explanation of their decision. About £150m will be allocated by the Government to cover the costs of extra assistance for carers.

The Bill will also promise to simplify the eligibility system under which carers are entitled to support and councils will be instructed to step up efforts to publicise the help available to carers.

“This would be the very first time that carers will be given the same right to support as the person they look after,” a Government source said.

“It will be people in their 40s, 50s and 60s already trying to balance their day job with raising their children who will be faced with an additional responsibility for caring.”

The Bill will set in place a new system of social care funding from 2017 under which the taxpayer picks up the bills after someone has spent £75,000 of their own money on their care.

Separate legislation is expected to prevent a repeat of the scandal at the Winterbourne View care home, near Bristol, where employees were secretly filmed assaulting residents.

Under the plans, care home managers would face prosecution if they failed to pass on complaints of abuse by staff.

Legislation will also be set out to guarantee continuity of care for people if their care provider goes out of business.

Ministers – conscious that the Coalition government is struggling to reach out to female voters – say the social care plans, as well as a shake-up of pensions, will particularly benefit women.

A Pensions Bill will overhaul the state pension system by creating a flat-rate pension of about £144 to come into effect in three years’ time. The Government will argue that the move will benefit 750,000 women who reach pension age between 2016 and 2026 by an average of £9 a week.

The Bill will also prevent people living abroad claiming British pensions even if they have paid nothing into the system or have not even visited this country.

Steve Webb, the Pensions minister, confirmed yesterday it would end the practice of women being able to claim solely on the basis of their husband’s contributions or vice versa. The move will coincide with the introduction of the flat-rate pension.

The annual cost to the taxpayer of these foreign pay-outs, which can be worth up to £3,500 a year, is estimated to be £410m.

Mr Webb said: “We’re not saying we care who you marry – that’s your choice. What we are saying is; don’t expect in the future that when you marry somebody they acquire rights in the British system even if they haven’t put in.”

Last night the think-tank Reform accused political leaders of “running scared” of elderly voters as they are much more likely to vote than younger age groups. It challenged David Cameron to include measures in the Queen’s Speech to cut the cost of pensions and benefits for older people.

Reform said the proposed single-tier pension would not save money until the 2040s and described benefits such as the winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and free television licences as poor value for money.

It also said politicians should not be afraid to begin a debate on the future of National Health Service spending.

Queen’s speech: highlights

Immigration: Migrants’ access to benefits, healthcare and social housing will be restricted in time for Romanians and Bulgarians getting the right to live and work in the UK.

High Speed 2  Rail Link: Ministers  risk a backlash from the Tory shires with Bill allowing government money to be spent on designing line between London and Birmingham.

Consumers: Extra protection, including refunds and compensation, for faulty goods bought online.

Energy: Help consumers get the  best deal from gas and electricity suppliers.

Anti-Social Behaviour: Police will gain new powers to tackle “nuisance neighbours”.

Dangerous Dogs Bill: Makes it an offence  for a dog to be  dangerously out of control in  any place.

Deregulation: Will cut red tape for small businesses, exempting self-employed from health and safety laws if their work poses no risk of harm to others.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Nigel Farage arrives for a hustings event at The Oddfellows Hall in Ramsgate on Tuesday
voicesA defection that shows who has the most to fear from the rise of Ukip
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Life and Style
Brave step: A live collection from Alexander McQueen whose internet show crashed because of high demand
fashionAs the collections start, Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate C#.NET Developer (TDD, ASP.NET, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Graduate C#.NET Developer (TDD, ASP.NET, SQL) Su...

Junior SQL DBA (SQL Server 2012, T-SQL, SSIS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior SQL DBA...

C# Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, MVC-4, HTML5) London

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Web Develop...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution