New campaign : Carers being short changed

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Carers being short changed

Hi everyone

We have been saying for a few months now, that we have a new campaign on the way well today we launch it! We hope this new campaign will push the issue of carer poverty up the political agenda. You may remember back at the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007 we urged everyone to complete our survey about your finances. Today we have published the results of that survey and are urging carers, their friends and families to sign up to our new campaign, Real change, not short change, to secure a better deal for carers from Government.

The survey shows that carers are having to sell their homes, cut back on food, heating and clothes, give up their jobs, and sacrifice their pensions - leaving many deeply worried about their financial future. Carers are being short changed by an outdated benefits system that doesn’t recognise their contribution.

The benefits system is failing to deliver the vital support carers need. Despite making such a huge contribution to society, carers pay a heavy price for their commitments.

New research from Carers UK shows :

* Almost three-quarters are worse off since they started caring
* Half of carers are forced to give up work to care
* Two out of three carers have to cover extra costs of disability
* A third are facing severe financial hardship such as cutting back on food or unable to pay bills.

Carers UK believes the scale of the problem cannot be underestimated. We are calling for a radical rethink on how society values carers.

Carers are fed up of simply being told they are valued. They want more than words. They want proper financial recognition. Carers are saying it’s time to deliver. They want real change not short change

I hope you'll all take time to read the web pages and sign up to send your message to Gordon Brown.

Thanks
Matt

Quick links

1. Campaign homepage
http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaigns/Shortchanged

2. Carer Don Jones "Surely as a carer I’m worth more than £48 per week?" http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... etDonJones

3. Send your message to Gordon Brown http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... ordonBrown

4. Download a copy of the research report (The report is 46 pages so I'm afraid it's a big file 2MB)
http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... ampaignFAQ

5. What carers are saying - these are some powerful direct quotes from some of the 2950 carers who completed the survey. http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... tcarerssay
Looks good for a start, obviously lots of work gone into this. Two questions immediately come to mind:

1. The campaign asks for 'Help' for carers - if I am asked for help, I want to know reasonably clearly what I am being asked for. Has CUK some clearly defined proposals?

2. Is something being sent to all MPs? I want to know how to back up the campaign, ie who to contact and what to focus on, as vague ramblings do not get attention the way something punchy and definite will.
Hi Cotula

1. The research report goes into more detail as to what we are calling for, but the basic message is simple - financial support for carers just is not good enough and carers deserve better. We want Government to carry out a radical review of carer benefits, tax breaks, and the overall way carers are supported. We think the forthcoming National Strategy for Carers is a golden opportunity for Government to get this right.

2. We'll be doing a load of Parliamentary work with all parties. All MP's will receive the research and we will work with the MPs who make up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Carers, which Carers UK helps organise.

3. What do we want people to do?
At this stage we need to collect as many supporters as possible by getting them to sign up on the website at
http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... ordonBrown

Over the next few weeks we'll also be distributing thousands of postcards to carers centres, GP's etc that are the same as the website - send a message to Gordon Brown. We will then fix a date later in the year and have some sort of presentation / lobby to hand over all the cards and web messages.

Matt
Thanks for the quick response, Matt.

When I have had time to read the research report, I shall pick out some points which I feel my MP is most likely to respond to (he is a doctor), since MP's have so much stuff coming their way, I want to give him reasons to read the full report more carefully.

I do have a concern that the solution might be seen as a simple 'throw more money at it'. We have seen what is happening to education and the NHS when the money is not properly targetted and controlled when spent.

As a point of interest, how many petitions and 'write to' type campaigns arrive on Ministers' desks each year? i.e., what is the competition for attention like?
i do think that this is different from education and NHS cotula.

quite honestly, 'if money were thrown in our direction' it would make our lives as carers so much more bearable and we would feel valued. plus, i think we could go on caring for longer, because we could afford to pay for respite, holidays, and decent food. which in turn would benefit the government.

Keep up the good work carers uk.
Well said Pam, i agree with all that you have said, money is one of the most important issues in carers lives today.

All the best Tony. Image
Investing in carers is extremely good value for the government. So in some respects the message is that it is a case of throwing money at it - just throw it in the direction of carers!

Carers are saving the country a fortune, and in return they get next to nothing. Supporting carers by allowing them a decent income will reduce their stress, shows they are valued, allows them to access respite - all sound investments in continuing a care situation that also benefits the disabled person.

Sign up now everyone!!!
http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaigns/Shortchanged

Matt
Just signed it Matt!

Paula
I have just signed up to it aswell Matt.

All the best Tony. Image
Done too

Rosemary