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New Commission on Funding of Care and Support

20 July 2010
Carers UK welcomes today's announcement of the setting up of the Commission on the Funding of Social Care, questions where it will fit into plans for welfare reform and urges a speedy resolution as the care system is crumbling.

Imelda Redmond CBE, Chief Executive, said, "Carers UK welcomes today's announcement of the setting up of the Commission on the Funding of Social Care and that Government is moving forward quickly with its plans to find a solution to how social care is funded in the future. However, we also need clarification about how this will fit into the Government's plans for welfare reform.

"There is not a moment to lose. The care system is crumbling. On top of the existing postcode lottery in care, cuts are already starting to bite as councils reduce support to families. Ill, frail and disabled people and carers are struggling with soaring charges for the most basic of services with many forced to sell their homes to pay for residential care. Family members who provide care are falling out of work and into ill-health and poverty. We cannot wait any longer for change.

We are pleased that Government has recognised the enormous economic impact of the failure to fund social care sustainably in the future by appointing Andrew Dilnot as its Chair and the other commissioners Dame Jo Williams and Lord Warner have a wealth of experience of social care.

In the UK we will reach the tipping point of care in 2017 when the number of older people needing care will outstrip the number of families available to provide care – placing increased pressure on services and families with dire consequences for their ability to work, keep healthy, etc. By 2037 even if services expanded at the current levels, we would still need 3.4 million more people to become carers at a time when we'll need more people staying in employment to keep our nation economically productive and build up pensions.

The impact of providing care for family members and friends can be stark. One in six carers has given up work to care and they are more likely to suffer ill-health if they are providing round-the-clock care. After 5 years of caring, they are significantly more likely to be in receipt of Income Support.

This is not just a domestic phenomenon, but a global one. The world's fast-ageing population means that by 2050, those in middle age will be 3 times more likely than now to be responsible for caring for many of the 2 billion elderly.[1]

Imelda Redmond added, "It is vital that we have more detail about how this review will fit with the Government's wider agenda for welfare reform. There is already a significant amount of anxiety in families about the reform of disability benefits and how it will impact on their ability to meet the extra costs of disability."

"In looking at funding we should also not forget that our social care system also needs radical transformation and modernisation. This agenda needs to run alongside the work of the Commission."

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