Archbishop of Westminster tells Parliamentarians care reform is a fundamental test for society

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In a speech to Parliamentarians and representatives of Catholic charities, the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols- Archbishop of Westminster, today emphasised the urgency and importance of reforming the UK’s care system.

Addressing the annual Caritas Social Action Network reception in the House of Commons, Archbishop Nichols stated:

“Perhaps one of the most important areas currently under consideration here is how we care for older and disabled people: a fundamental test of any civilised society. I applaud the efforts underway from many quarters to address shortcomings in the care system, and encourage all those involved in this urgent and vital process.”

Welcoming the Archbishop’s statement Simon Gillespie, Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:

“The current crisis in our care system today means that older, frail and disabled people are struggling to find and pay for care to help with every day needs like washing, dressing, taking medication or just getting out of the house. As our society ages and people live longer with long term conditions, more and more older and disabled people, and carers supporting them, aren’t getting the support they need. We need all parts of society and all political parties to come together and take urgent action to tackle what is becoming one of the biggest public policy challenges of our generation.

Helen O’Brien, CEO of CSAN, said that reform of the care system is an ongoing priority for the Catholic Church:

“Supporting the dignity and wellbeing of disabled or older people is intrinsic to the Church’s social action mission; every day our charities support thousands of people both in residential accommodation and in their own homes. As the Care and Support Bill proceeds through Parliament we are committed to working with parliamentarians, NGOs and other faith groups to ensure that those who do not currently receive the support they require, are not left to suffer in silence.”

During the event, Archbishop Nichols also emphasised the importance of a safety net to “protect essentials such as food and shelter for those who fall on hard times”, and paid tribute to Catholic charities in England and Wales for providing “life affirming opportunity to those on the margins of society.”


CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) is the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The 2012 CSAN Parliamentary Reception was held in the Churchill Dining Room, House of Commons on 28 November 2012. It was attended by over 50 representatives of CSAN member charities and over 40 parliamentarians


Liam Allmark
Public Affairs Officer, CSAN
t: 020 7901 4846