Family focus in the Queen’s Speech

On the 9th May, the Queen delivered her annual speech, setting out the key plans and legislation that the Government will be focusing on over the coming year.

Amongst the plans, which cover everything from crime to employment, pensions and reforms to the House of Lords, there are a number of positive steps being suggested for the benefit of families.

Here is an overview of some of the main issues raised:

Children and Families
• More flexibility could be given to parents in Britain, so they are able to easily share their parental leave following the birth of a child. The suggestion is that mums who want to return to work earlier after having a baby can transfer some of their maternity-leave entitlement over to the father.
• Attempts will be made to speed up the adoption process, including making inter-racial adoption easier.
• In the case of a family breakdown, the law may be changed to ensure more children continue to have a relationship with both parents, as long as it is safe and in the best interests of the child.

Special needs support
• Support for children with special needs looks like being improved, including more choice for families over education for pupils with special educational needs.
• The system of Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements for children with disabilities and learning difficulties is to be replaced in England from 2014 by a simpler assessment process.
• The age that statutory protection will provided for those in full time education seems likely to be raised from the age of 16 to 25.
• Young people could be given the right to a personal budget to spend on support and care.

It’s great the speech has highlighted some positive changes that are to be introduced for the benefit of parents.

At CVS, we strongly back moves to offer further help and support for families. That is why we have been working hard to try and have the childcare vouchers scheme extended to include the self-employed, so more parents may benefit from the savings they offer.

Together with other leading childcare voucher providers we have created a workable model that would be easy to implement and could enable self-employed parents to reap the same benefits as other working parents.

More on this topic as our lobbying progresses.