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Extra rights for carers – comment on the Queen’s Speech

08 May 2013

The Queen’ Speech (8 May 2013) announced the Government’s intention to give extra rights to carers.  

Professor Luke Clements of Cardiff Law School, Cardiff University who acted as Special Adviser to the Joint Select Committee considering the draft Care & Support Bill - and who has written extensively on carers rights – expressed reservations about the impact of the proposed measures. In his opinion it was much more important that the Bill should strengthen the duty to provide decent services to disabled and older people.

"The primary need is not for carers to have services, but for the state to provide these for disabled and elderly people. If this is done, then – by and large - carers can get on with their lives," said Professor Clements. 

"The crippling cutbacks to care services for disabled and older people mean that carers are taking the strain: carers are the elastic that is keeping the system from failing.  Many carers have reached the limits – many cannot be stretched many more.

"What is required is a real terms investment in decent social care.  Compared to NHS spending it would be very small indeed. Decades of underfunding of social care has produced, not only 6.5 million carers at their limits but also a spiralling healthcare budget as the NHS copes with those for whom the social care system has failed." 

Professor Clements’ major paper ‘Does your carer take sugar?’ is shortly to be published. It reviews the growth of the ‘carers movement’ over the last 30 years and the political responses to their needs during this period.


Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans.  Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff's three flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places. 

Professor Luke Clements, Cardiff Law School, Tel: 02920 874360, email: 

Victoria Dando, Public Relations, Cardiff University, Tel: 02920 879074, email: 

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