The Queen has unveiled the government’s legislative agenda for the upcoming Parliament, and many UK-based charities have been giving their thoughts to Charity Today.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“Over the last year, we have seen the devastating impact of the pandemic on the children, young people and families we support. This generation must be supported to recover and thrive, so we welcome the Government’s commitment to supporting children to have the best start in life and catch up on lost learning. However, this must be the first step in a wider plan for children – which tackles the crisis in mental health and provides community-based support to all families – from pregnancy to 19 – to catch problems before they escalate.
“The last few months have highlighted the urgent need to tackle violence against women and girls, and we know that for children, trauma from domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and abuse by other young people – as outlined on the Everyone’s Invited website – can last a lifetime. I welcome the commitment to a Victim’s Law and believe this must include a guarantee of specialist support for all victims, including children.
“The renewed promise to regulate the internet is also welcome. We have been awaiting the Online Safety Bill for several years now, and it’s vital the Government brings it forward as quickly as possible. Every day, children across the UK are suffering harm online, and the risk has only increased during Covid-19. Any further delay to legislation will mean children are left unprotected for longer.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have said that charities are the glue that holds society together, and in challenging times they provide a safety net for the most vulnerable in society. I’m pleased the Government recognises this and is committed to further support for the voluntary sector. During the pandemic, the Barnardo’s-led See, Hear, Respond partnership showed how charities could work together at speed to support those who need us most. We look forward to working with the Government as these proposals develop.”
Richard Franklin, Chief Executive at Kisharon, said:
“This Government’s promise of a Social Care Reform is welcomed – yet the absence of any detail or outline plan in today’s Queen Speech reveals a continued absence of a consensus of how those promises will be delivered.
“Not for Profit organisations embedded and accountable within their local communities understand what Learning Disability, Mental Health and Elder Social Care can look like –which is opposed to tragedies seared in the memories of all impacted by the covid pandemic.
“Cross-Parliamentary Groups, alongside local charities, providers and their representative bodies are absolutely willing to work hand in hand with any Government, to ensure people of all ages with social care needs live with independence, well-being and dignity.
“The NHS is proof positive that centralised care and support systems work, and Jeremy Hunt is right to call this “a 1948 Moment” – given almost a quarter of a century has passed since the Royal Commission branded the current social care system unfair. Our Nation, its communities and its people recognise that the mark of a civilised society is how we look after those who otherwise would be vulnerable – it makes financial sense too. If this Government demonstrates the vision Attlee and Bevan showed in creating the NHS with an equally bold, ambitious and deliverable plan for Social Care, it will define this Government’s legacy for generations to come.”
Dan Paskins, Save the Children’s Director of UK Impact, said:
“We are pleased today’s Queen’s Speech included a commitment from the UK government to ensure that children have the best start in life, focusing on their early years and addressing the lost learning during the pandemic.
“But we are disappointed that the UK government did not seize the opportunity to set out plans for the Employment Bill, particularly with unemployment set to peak later in the year as the furlough scheme comes to an end.
“Families on low incomes tell us there is a lack of family-friendly jobs that provide both flexibility and stability. This can mean parents cannot work or progress in work and can leave families struggling to provide for their children. Supporting good quality work will be a crucial part of the economic recovery. It is essential so that parents can feed, clothe and educate their children.
“These families who are on Universal Credit are already facing the prospect of having their incomes slashed by £1000 a year come October.
“We need an Employment Bill to ensure parents on low incomes are given the security that everyone needs and deserves in their work.”