Shelagh Fogarty scrutinises Tory MP over 'no plans' for social care

11 May 2021, 16:26

By Fiona Jones

Shelagh Fogarty scrutinised Tory MP Miriam Cates over the Queen's Speech failing to include details on social care reform. Watch the heated debate.

The Government's post-pandemic agenda has been unveiled in a slimmed-down Queen's Speech - in what Boris Johnson claims will be "rocket fuel" for his levelling-up pledge to parts of the country.

Read more: Queen's Speech: Government's post-pandemic agenda set out in Lords

Plans for social care reform did not feature in the agenda, with the Health Secretary admitting to LBC that the Government hasn't been able to focus on the issue because of the pandemic.

Shelagh called out Tory MP Miriam Cates over the omission of this issue: "No social care detail... Damian Green said it was essential in this Queen's Speech and it wasn't."

Ms Cates responded that social care reform "was mentioned in the Queen's Speech": "Since the Prime Minister became Prime Minister we've had all the turmoil over Brexit and the election, we've had a global pandemic, and I think most people would agree amidst a global pandemic, there isn't the resource."

Read more: Social care reform plan will be "long term," Matt Hancock tells LBC

The MP said that the Government will provide a "generation-long social care reform" which will take time to finalise thoroughly, again insisting it featured in Her Majesty's speech.

Shelagh quipped, "It wasn't in the Queen's Speech, come on, don't insult my intelligence."

She continued that just because Ms Cates is saying the words "solving social care" does not mean social care is being solved.

The Tory MP said, "This isn't an easy problem to solve and that's why it's going to take time to bring forward the consultation and consensus and get something strong and robust that is going to take us forward.

"There is no detail on any of the Bills in the Queen's Speech but it is the point of the Queen's Speech to set out which Bills will be brought before Parliament, that's what it's there to do."

Shelagh pointed out that there is a "growing consensus" in Parliament over the action to take for social care reform to which Ms Cates said there are "still questions to be answered."

Ms Cates continued: "Now as we're coming out of [the pandemic], as we've seen the success of the vaccination programme, now is the time to pick up on that and go for it to get a really robust solution."

Shelagh quoted Boris Johnson's 2019 speech: "'I am announcing now on the steps of Downing Street that we will fix the crisis of social care once and for all and with a clear plan that we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.'

"Well they haven't prepared it, have they?"

Ms Cates responded that after the "political turmoil" of the 2019 general election the Health Secretary wrote to all MPs asking for cross-party submissions on the issue - and then the pandemic hit.

Separately, Boris Johnson has announced that from May 17 care home residents in England will be allowed up to five named visitors and will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days after leaving the home to attend medical appointments.

Watch: Caller describes harrowing care home visit which left her 'shaken'

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