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Carers must be a priority for the new government

08 May 2015

Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots responds to the General Election 2015.

6.5 million people in the UK are caring for older, sick or disabled loved ones. Carers are now looking to the new Government to improve support for carers as an urgent priority. Without carers our society would collapse - their unpaid care saves the state £119bn per year and enables loved ones to get the most out of life. Yet, many feel undervalued, unsupported and face a daily struggle to cope.

In their Manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to increase support for carers, recognising the enormous contribution carers make to our country. However, carers remain concerned that vital support will be reduced. As the new Government begins to look at its spending plans, they must ensure that families have the financial and practical support they need to care.

We look forward to working with the new Government to improve the recognition and support which families so desperately need. In particular we are looking to the Government:

  • To ensure that carers and their families do not suffer financial hardship as a result of caring: Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind, at just £62.10 a week. We hear from carers having to cut back on essentials like food or heating just to make ends meet.
  • To ensure that there is sufficient funding so that older and disabled people get the care they need and which is affordable: Our research with carers found that 1 in 5 full time carers receive no practical support with caring and 61% said they are at ‘breaking point’, struggling to cope without the support they need.
  • To ensure that there are more measures to help carers juggle work and caring: 3 million people, 1 in 9 of the workforce, combine caring for a loved one with paid work, however many carers are forced to give up their jobs to care due to a lack of rights, flexibility and high quality care services at home.
  • To create a more ‘Carer Friendly’ NHS: Carers can struggle for recognition and support from health professionals.Involving carers in decision making, and recognising their role as expert partners in care, benefits patients, carers and the NHS alike.

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