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Point of Order

Volume 635: debated on Thursday 1 February 2018

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I also wish you a happy birthday?

In an oral statement on social care on 7 December 2017, the then Care Minister, the hon. Member for Thurrock (Jackie Doyle-Price), replied to a question I asked about the Government abandoning the carers strategy that had been due to be published in summer 2017—a strategy that has been dragging on for so long, in fact, that the right hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) was associated with that piece of work when he was in his former role. The then Minister said, about the thousands of carers who had responded to a consultation and then been left waiting:

“We have listened to them, and we will consider what they have said in bringing forward the Green Paper. In the meantime, it is very important to pull together exactly what support there is at present and then respond to that, and we will publish our action plan in January.”—[Official Report, 7 December 2017; Vol. 632, c. 1238-1239.]

It is now February. Not only have we no longer any prospect of a carers strategy from the Government, but they have not met their own target to publish an action plan. This is a shabby way to treat carers. Madam Deputy Speaker, do you have any indication that the new Care Minister plans to come to this House to update us on what, if anything, the Government propose to do to support carers?

I thank the hon. Lady, first for her good wishes and secondly for drawing the attention of the House to a matter about which she has concern. As she knows, I have no power or authority to require the Minister to come to the House, but there are other methods that the hon. Lady can use to attempt to require the Minister to come to the Dispatch Box and answer her questions. Mr Speaker has made it very clear in the past—of course, I agree with him—that when a Minister has given an undertaking that something will be done, it ought to be done. I am quite sure that the hon. Lady’s point will have been noted by those on the Treasury Bench.