Headlines: May 14th, 2010

The new government is facing an immediate call to make reform of social care an urgent priority. It has been warned that the system is crumbling. The coalition is also being urged to allow the third sector to help get disabled and disadvantaged people back into work.

Carers UK has asked the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to make clear plans for a fair, universal and transparent care service as a matter of urgency. The charity says ill, frail and disabled people are struggling with soaring charges for basic services. Its director of policy and public affairs, Emily Holzhausen, said: “The care system is crumbling. On top of the existing postcode lottery in care, cuts are already starting to bite as councils reduce support to families.”

During the election campaign the charity had welcomed the recognition from all the main political parties of the need for reform she said but added: “We are deeply disappointed that the programme for Government published in the coalition agreement this week does not establish social care as a political priority.”

Meanwhile the Shaw Trust, which provides employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people, told the Government the third sector could help it succeed in supporting people back into work. Sally Burton, the Trust’s chief executive, said much work had been done to bring about better integration of service delivery across welfare to work, social inclusion and mental health issues. “The third sector has played an important role in this success and, given the opportunity, can not only continue that support but also be part of much needed new solutions to those facing unemployment, social isolation and deprivation,” she added.