Short breaks bill fails due to lack of government backing

A private members bill giving the families of disabled children the legal right to a short break failed to pass its second reading at the House of Commons yesterday.

The Disabled Children (Family Support) Bill, tabled by Conservative MP Gary Streeter, would have placed a duty on local authorities and health authorities to provide short breaks.

The bill failed after the government stated that it would not support it on cost grounds.

Jo Williams, chief executive of Mencap, one of the charities behind the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, said that the campaign was “extremely disappointed” that the bill didn’t get through.

“We believe strongly that families should have a right to short breaks. The simple fact is that the vast majority of families with severely disabled children who need breaks don’t get them. That is why we need an entitlement to breaks,” she said.

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