The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have published a document setting out agreements reached on a range of issues. These include: the establishment of a commission on long-term care, an extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees, the phasing out of the default retirement age, a rise in the state pension age and changes to welfare to work programmes.
'The Coalition: programme for government' includes the following commitments:
- Social care and disability (extract): We will establish a commission on long-term care, to report within a year. The commission will consider a range of ideas, including both a voluntary insurance scheme to protect the assets of those who go into residential care, and a partnership scheme as proposed by Derek Wanless.
- Equalities (extract): We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, consulting with business on how best to do so.
- Pensions and older people (extract): We will phase out the default retirement age and hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women. We will end the rules requiring compulsory annuitisation at 75.
- Jobs and welfare (extract): The parties agree to end all existing welfare to work programmes and to create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work. We will ensure that Jobseeker's Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work are referred to the new welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months as is currently the case.
The full document can be viewed at: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/409088/pfg_coalition.pdf
Carers UK has welcomed the Government's plans to establish the commission on long-term care:
Responding to the publication of the Coalition programme for government Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK said:
"Carers UK welcomes today's announcement that the Government is to set up a commission on long-term care. Our care system is crumbling and the Government has recognised the need for urgent action, with the commission reporting within a year. It is vital that the difficult questions around the scope and funding of reform of social care are approached in a non-partisan way to set in train sustainable reform for the long term.
As a result, the commission must be given a wide remit to consider all options for how to fund a care and support system that can meet the demographic challenge of an ageing population. Carers tell us that they need a system that puts an end not only to the postcode lottery in care, but pools the risk of care costs amongst everyone, so that families no longer fear illness or disability leading to crippling care costs.
In addition, the last government earmarked money for free personal care which the Liberal Democrats had indicated should instead be used for carers breaks. It is not yet clear what the new Government intends to do with this money, but it is critical that it is invested in providing additional support for carers which helps them to stay in work, take a break from caring and look after their own health – things which most people take for granted."