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Government urged to exempt carers and their families from controversial charges for ‘spare rooms’

Carers UK, with six other national charities, is urging the Government to use the forthcoming Budget to ensure carers and disabled people in social housing do not face ‘bedroom tax’ payments.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirms Carers UK analysis showing rise of 11% in number of carers

Disability benefit changes to lead to shock £31 million cut in carers' benefits.

Carers UK responds to Government announcement on cap on the costs of care

Carers UK launches inquiry into financial realities of caring for older parents or disabled loved ones as poll shows widespread anxiety about care costs

The report by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, has been published today and calls for “fundamental change" in the culture of the NHS to ensure patients are cared for properly.

The number of people providing unpaid care for disabled, sick or elderly relatives and loved ones has risen substantially in the last decade.

Carers UK Chief Executive, Heléna Herklots, gave a mixed reaction to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

George Osborne’s decision to increase carers and disability benefits in line with inflation is welcome but more local government cuts will undermine the already creaking social care system.

Whilst most benefits for working age people will increase by only 1%, an increase below the level of inflation, carers’ and disabled people’s benefits will rise in line with inflation. Carers UK wrote to the Chancellor in September to urge him not to freeze benefits for carers and disabled people.

Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement Heléna Herklots said:

“Freezing carers and disability benefits would have piled extra pressure on carers and risked a further, very serious impact, on the ability of carers to make ends meet. It is a relief that the Chancellor has listened to these concerns and agreed that these benefits will rise with inflation.

Despite this families are still struggling with the greater costs of food and fuel. The Family Spending Report published this week by the Office of National Statistics shows that the average household costs for a family have gone up by £10 a week more than this time last year.

Carers are already seeing services in their local areas being cut back and charges for care increasing. The Chancellor’s announcement of a further 2% cut to local government spending from 2014 is disappointing and will result in even more pressure on the care system.

Although, benefits for carers and disabled people will go up a little in line with inflation, we hear from carers that the rising cost of living, care services stretched to the bone and reductions in welfare spending add up to a big on strain family finances."

Find more information about the Autumn Statement here

 

 

 

 

Today is national Carers Rights Day, when over 850 events take place across the country to give advice and information to the UK’s 6.4 million carers, 3 million of whom juggle work and care. Carers Rights Day is supported by Sainsbury's and they, along with other Employers for Carers members, are using the day to promote good workplace practices which support staff with caring responsibilities.

Caroline Waters OBE, Director, People & Policy, for BT Group and Chair of Employers Forum Employers for Carers, said: “Employers are seeing increasing numbers of key staff forced to give up work because the support they need to combine work and caring for ill or disabled loved ones just isn’t available when they need it. Demographic change means that increasingly, caring for older or disabled loved ones coincides with childcare. This poses new challenges to the productivity and economic activity of the nation - with businesses risking the loss of skills and talent and the significant investment it represents, if support at work and local services are not available to enable families to juggle work and care effectively.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “An ageing population means that caring for older or disabled loved ones is inevitable for all our families. Workplace and care services must catch up with this reality of family life. As the costs of childcare place a real strain on families’ ability to work, this research shows that finding affordable, good quality and flexible care for older parents or disabled loved ones is every bit as much of a challenge to families trying to juggle work and care.”

Carers UK is calling for urgent reform of social care funding, measures to stimulate a new generation of affordable care services, effective use of technology to help families juggle work with caring responsibilities and advice and information to ensure families can access support.

Carers UK is also highlighting the need for employers to consider flexible working packages for people with caring responsibilities. Sainsbury’s is one of just a few companies in the FTSE 100 with policies to support carers in the workplace. The company also raised £44,000 from the sale of Jubilee-themed bags for life earlier this year, to support the Carers UK Advice Line.

Justin King, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, who hosted the launch of Carers Rights Day said: “By working together with groups such as Carers UK, we have identified that over 20,000 of our colleagues at Sainsbury’s have caring responsibilities. We now have a carers policy, which includes offering flexible working packages for our colleagues and raising awareness in stores about carers’ rights and the practical support on offer. Creating flexible, rewarding jobs is not only part of being a great place to work, it helps us retain skilled and valuable people, which is why we’re proud to say that our turnover is currently at a record low.”

-ENDS-

Contacts:

Notes for Editors:

  • Employers for Carers is an innovative and growing service for employers, chaired by BT and supported by Carers UK. Its key purpose is to provide help to employers to support the one in seven carers in their workforce. Launched in 2009 there are now 60 members representing one million employers. www.employersforcarers.org
  • There are a total of over 6.4 million carers in the UK today. Every year over 2 million people become carers and by 2037 it is estimated there will be 9 million carers in the UK.
  • Carers UK supports the millions of people who care for an elderly relative, a sick partner or a disabled family member, provides information and advice about caring and campaigns to make life better for carers.
  • Carers Rights Day, 30th November 2012, will see over 800 local groups across the UK running advice, information and support events. The theme this year is ‘Getting help in tough times’ – helping carers find financial help, get practical help and make the most of technology. Carers Rights Day is supported by Sainsbury’s, Tunstall Healthcare Ltd. and the Big Lottery Fund. 
  • Carers UK is also launching a new version of Looking after someone – a guide to carers’ rights and entitlements, a comprehensive guide. The guide is available free to carers who can order a copy from Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777.

Sandwich generation parents are emotionally and financially overwhelmed by the pressures of raising children alongside caring for ageing relatives, new research from Carers UK reveals.

Cass Business School report says care reform can act as an engine for economic growth

A fundamental shift in policy on care for older and disabled people could not only better support families in the UK, but also add significant value to the economy, according to a new report commissioned and published by Carers UK, researched and written by Professor Leslie Mayhew of Cass Business School.

The report argues that care must be accessible to all through improved integration of services in order to better support the 6.4 million UK carers. Understanding the economic costs of failures in care is crucial in reforming the current system.

Over three million carers juggle the demands of caring with maintaining a job, Cass Business School’s analysis indicates that reforming support for carers could deliver an economic and employment boost by helping keep carers in employment.

The report finds that restructuring care and reconfiguring services can help families stay in work alongside caring. This could deliver higher workplace productivity and staff retention for employers. In turn, this provides opportunities for growth in the care market, and improves the efficiency of care provision. Such reforms are made more necessary as more families are in the position of having to provide care to different generations simultaneously, the so called ‘pivot generation.’

Alongside improving support for working families, the report also points to wider economic opportunities. With provision of social care services failing to match rapid growth in demand for care from an ageing population, the report argues that stimulation of growth in care services to meet this demand could deliver a boost to GDP.

Chief Executive of Carers UK, Helena Herklots says:
"Too often the debate around reform of care for older and disabled people is framed as a drain on public finances. It is time we recognised that helping families to juggle work and care and stimulating a new generation of care services can act as an engine for economic growth."

Report author, Professor Mayhew says:

“We need to be much smarter about how care is organised and delivered – the system is fragmented and too complex. We need greater integration, better financial incentives, more flexibility, and a focus on prevention.”

-ENDS-

The UK Care Economy: Improving outcomes for carers was commissioned by Carers UK in order to look at the various challenges that families are currently facing, with large societal changes underway and new demographic pressures, and give an independent view on the various contexts and opportunities for improving outcomes for carers.

The full report is available at www.carersuk.org/professionals/resources/research-library

 

ABOUT CASS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Cass Business School, which is part of City University London, delivers innovative, relevant and forward-looking education, training, consultancy and research. Located in the heart of one of the world’s leading financial centres, Cass is the business school for the City of London.

Our MBA, specialist Masters and undergraduate degrees have a global reputation for excellence, and the School supports nearly 100 PhD students.

Cass offers the widest portfolio of specialist Masters programmes in Europe. It also has the largest faculties of Finance and Actuarial Science and Insurance in the region. It is ranked in the top 10 UK business schools for business, management and finance research and 90% of the research output is internationally significant.
Cass is a place where students, academics, industry experts, business leaders and policy makers can enrich each other's thinking. For further information visit: www.cass.city.ac.uk.

A DECADE AS CASS BUSINESS SCHOOL

2012 marks 10 years since City University Business School became Cass Business School - new premises, name, and brand - the business school for the City of London.

This followed a generous donation from the Sir John Cass’s Foundation. Founded in 1748 by philanthropist Sir John Cass, the Foundation is one of London's oldest and largest education charities. Sir John Cass was born in the City of London in 1661 served as Alderman, Sheriff and MP for the City, receiving a knighthood in 1712.

Cass is marking this anniversary with a year of activities and events. The celebration will start in September 2012, which marks 10 years since Cass’s contemporary premises on Bunhill Row opened for business.

For more information see http://www.cass.city.ac.uk/10th-anniversary

Carers UK has responded to the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement on Government proposals to support parents juggling work and care.

£5.3bn cost to the economy in lost earnings of carers giving up work to care

Carers UK has written to the Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith urging them to protect carers and disability benefits from any measures to freeze benefit levels. The letter follows media reports that the Government is considering benefit freezes as part of further reductions in public expenditure. 

Carers UK urges action to tackle barriers to families accessing telecare benefits 

New research from Carers UK has shown that, despite huge potential benefits of using telecare and telehealth, families caring for ill, frail and disabled loved ones are still facing barriers to accessing the services.

Carers UK has responded to new research from Which? published today, highlighting serious failings in homecare for older people and the impact this is having on their families. 

Carers UK has expressed disappointment that the Government has today refused to support a backbench Bill designed to improve identification of carers and improve access to services to support carers and disabled people.

MPs urged to support business-backed care Bill to support ‘work, families and the economy’

Today (Friday 7th September) MPs will debate a backbench Bill to improve support services for carers and disabled people. A cross-party group of MPs, led by Barbara Keeley MP, has brought forward the Social Care (Local Sufficiency) and Identification of Carers Bill, designed to ensure disabled people and carers have access to support services to allow them to stay in or return to work.

Mirroring transformative duties on councils to promote childcare, the Bill would stimulate provision of care services, ensuring enough are available in each local area to allow families to work alongside caring for ill or disabled loved ones, and to support disabled people to work. The legislation would also place duties on GPs, NHS and social care staff to identify and support family members taking on caring responsibilities for older or disabled people. 

In addition to support across the charity sector including from Carers UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope and Age UK; the Bill has won key backing from employers including BT, British Gas and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Supporters of the Bill argue that, just as childcare duties brought about a revolution in provision allowing parents of young children to work; duties on councils to ensure sufficient care and support services for older and disabled people, would reduce worklessness and the numbers of essential staff quitting their jobs to care. 

Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT Group and Chair of business forum Employers for Carers, said: “We are seeing the mounting costs, not just to families but to business of a care system that often cannot support carers trying to juggle work with care. Stimulating the care market can deliver an economic triple win – better services for families, the infrastructure to help employers retain skilled staff and a real boost to economic growth. The debate started 20 years ago with childcare and there is now a pressing need to bring the same focus and progress to care for older and disabled people. This Bill would start this important process by placing a duty on local authorities to ensure a supply of care as is already the case with childcare.”

Barbara Keeley MP, who is promoting the Bill, said: “Families and businesses are now feeling the combined effects of a growing demographic challenge and the economic crisis. This Bill would help ensure that the services are in place to keep families in work alongside caring responsibilities. This is vital for carers themselves but also for business and the wider economy. The cross-party support for this Bill shows the growing recognition from all parties of the critical role that care services play in supporting families, employers and the economy.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “With rapidly increasing numbers of older and disabled people it is essential that workplaces and services adapt to the new reality of family life. We know around 1 million people have already had to reduce working hours or quit their jobs to care for ill or disabled loved ones, and disabled people are often unable to get the support they need to work. This Bill could represent a step-change in how care services are delivered that supports families, work and economic growth and productivity.”

The Bill will be debated by MPs on Friday, when Barbara Keeley MP will be joined by the Bill’s Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green co-sponsors, including Dr Hywel Francis MP, who has piloted through previous successful carers’ rights Private Members Bills; Sir Tony Baldry MP; Sarah Newton MP, Laura Sandys MP, Stephen Lloyd MP, Annette Brooke MP, Diana Johnson MP, Sharon Hodgson MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Alex Cunningham MP and Caroline Lucas MP. 

Organisations and individuals can add their support here...

Contact:

Steve McIntosh, Carers UK
Tel: 0207 378 4937
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chloe Wright, Carers UK
Tel: 0207 378 4942
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes:

Charities supporting the Bill: Carers UK, Age UK, Disability Rights UK, Marie Curie Cancer Carers UK, Scope, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Carers Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Parkinson’s UK, RNIB, Independent Age, Rethink Mental Illness, Action for Children, MND Association, British Association of Social Workers, Arthritis Care, Home Group, Real Life Options, National Family Carer Network, Autism-in-Mind, British Polio Fellowship, United Response, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Multiple System Atrophy Trust, Grandparents Plus.

 

 

ITV has announced that Carers UK is amongst six charities which will be supported by Text Santa, their major fundraising campaign, this Christmas. 

Responding to the publication of the social care White Paper, draft Care and Support Bill and progress report on funding, Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots said:

“Every one of us will need or provide care to ill, frail or disabled loved ones at some point in our lives. We all need to know that, when caring affects us, we have the right to support and services to enable us to stay healthy and live lives alongside caring. 

The Government’s proposals for reforming social care law are a real step forward in the rights of carers. The measures set out in the draft Care and Support Bill would move from piecemeal carers’ rights legislation to the establishment of carers’ rights in Government legislation and, for the first time, equalise carers’ rights with disabled people rights. This is significant progress for a group who frequently feel like second class citizens - unrecognised for the contribution they make to society and left in ill-health and financial hardship as a result of caring.

But to make these rights a reality, what carers also need is a social care system with the resources to overcome years of chronic underfunding and rapidly growing demand. Those who face soaring care bills, service cuts and a daily struggle to access even basic support from the social care system, may see new rights in legislation as empty promises without the funding to back them up.

There are over a million people caring for over 50 hours a week in the country – many feel pushed to breaking point and are desperate for support now. These carers were looking to this announcement to show that the Government recognises the urgency of this crisis in social care – they will despair at yet more delay in tackling the fundamental challenge of social care funding.”

Read Carers UK's expert briefings of the White Paper, draft Care and Support Bill and progress report on social care funding at:

www.carersuk.org/professionals/resources/briefings

 

Carers UK has joined forces with Barbara Keeley MP and a cross party group of MPs to work on a new piece of legislation to improve the supply of social care and help identify hidden carers.

Barbara Keeley MP, a long-term advocate for carers, secured a spot in the parliamentary calendar for a ‘Private Member’s Bill’ – a piece of legislation proposed by a backbench MP rather than the Government – and chose to use the opportunity to champion carers.

A cross-party group of MPs are co-sponsoring the Bill including Conservative MPs Sir Tony Baldry, Sarah Newton and Laura Sandys; Liberal Democrat MPs Stephen Lloyd and Annette Brooke, Green MP Caroline Lucas and Labour MPs Sharon Hodgson, Dr Hywel Francis, Alex Cunningham, Diana Johnson and Heidi Alexander.

The bill, the Social Care (Local Sufficiency) and Identification of Carers Bill, aims to;

  • revolutionise the way that local authorities plan social care services in their areas for people who buy services themselves as well as those who rely on council social care services.
  • focus on ensuring the right services are planned and developed to help carers struggling to juggle work and caring for ill or disabled loved ones
  • create duties on the NHS, schools, colleges and universities to identify carers and signpost then to support and advice.

‘Sufficiency of supply’ – improving the supply of care services

The bill places a duty on local authorities to conduct an assessment of the social care services available in their area, looking at whether sufficient and relevant care is being made available to people with disabilities and carers.


The proposed legislation will recognise for the first time the need for carers and people with disabilities to have the right services in place to allow them to remain in, or join the workforce.  Local authorities currently have the same important role to ensure childcare is there to help parents work, and this new Bill would begin to develop this role for councils in social care. 


Currently an estimated 1 in 6 people is forced to give up work to care. Given the demographic trends where a shrinking workforce is being asked to work longer to meet growing care and pensions bills, this is clearly unsustainable.

Significant proportions of disabled people feel they can work and analysis in 2010 found that supporting social care users to access paid employment could generate earnings of up to £800 million each year, a reduction in benefits spending of £300 million (as well as extra income from tax and National Insurance). Research last month from Age UK showed that the cost to the Government of carers being forced to give up work to care had reached £5.3 billion in lost tax revenues, lost earnings and increased benefit payments.

The Bill reflects the economic imperative to help people juggle work and care and to support people with disabilities to work. Similar legal provisions around ‘sufficiency’ for childcare, introduced in 2006, helped stimulate growth in childcare services and Carers UK has argued that these duties for social care could help ensure families get the support they need.

Identifying hidden carers

We know that carers often take a long time to identify themselves as carers. Carers UK found that 25% of carers took 5 years or more to recognise themselves as a carer and each year about 2.2 million people start caring and a similar proportion cease caring.

By placing duties on health and education bodies, the Bill would speed up the identification of carers and allow help and support to be made available earlier.

Turning the Bill into law

Taking legislation from backbench MPs through Parliament is always challenging but Carers UK has a great track record.  We have successfully brought three Private Members Bills through the UK Parliament. Out of this work came new rights for carers to have their needs assessed, enshrining in law the principle that carers should have a life of their own in the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004.

Barbara Keeley’s Bill is the next step in winning additional support for carers and disabled people and Carers UK will be using our expertise and working hard to build support for the legislation and get it on the statute book.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK said;

“This is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to the lives of carers and disabled people. Every day we hear about carers who’ve been struggling to care for their families, not knowing what support is available to them - new duties on health bodies, schools and other educations institutions to identify carers will enable them to get help earlier.

Barbara Keeley’s Bill could also bring about a revolution in the way councils plan and commission social care services – for the first time looking at whether families have enough access to care, particularly the support they need to juggle work and care.

It is always tough to win Private Member’s Bills and we really need the support of carers, local groups and national partners to help make the case to Government.”

Add your support for bill by completing our quick online form

 

 

 

In advance of the publication of the Government's White Paper on social care next week, Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots said:

“Reform of social care is long overdue for the 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK, particularly the million people caring for over 50 hours a week for ill frail or disabled loved ones. The care provided by these unpaid carers far outweighs that provided by social care services and it is time we invested properly in supporting them. 

Families need several key things from this White Paper: funding solutions to tackle the current crisis in social care and to meet rising demand in the long-term; structural reform of an outdated, confusing and unfair care system; and an urgent timetable for deliver. None of these things alone will deliver the reform needed. 

The social care system has been chronically starved of the funding it needs for years. Action must be taken for the short and long-term to address the current crisis in care funding - setting the social care system on a sustainable course for the long-term.

Older and disabled people and carers also need a social care system which gives them certainty and clarity about the care they are entitled to, wherever they live; protection from catastrophic care costs; advice and information when they need it and guarantees of quality care. 

Delay is not an option. Families are feeling the impact of the crisis in social care now - in crippling care bills, poor quality care or simply being left without support, pushed to breaking point caring for ill or disabled loved ones. 

To recognise the urgency of this challenge and the desperation and fear caused by each day of delay, families will demand an urgent timetable to implement the reform needed.”

New poll shows 9 in 10 of public reject current social care funding system

 One year after the Dilnot Commission’s report into the funding of long term care,  an ICM poll reveals that 89% of English adults believe that older and disabled people shouldn’t have to bear all the costs for support with everyday tasks such as eating, washing and dressing, even if they have a small amount of savings

Responding to the research, Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “All of us will need care or provide care to a loved one at some point in our lives and it is clear that most of us fear the costs this will bring. Families across the country are struggling with the consequences of a care system in crisis – pushed out of work and into ill-health, financial hardship and isolation by caring, and often facing huge care bills to pay for basic support. The Government must act to tackle the crisis in social care funding to deliver the support families need and protect them from what can be catastrophic care costs.”

The results represent a wholesale rejection of the current system, in which if you have more than £23,500 in savings and need support with basic tasks like eating, washing, dressing or leaving the house you have to pay the full costs of that care.

At present, every adult in England has a one in two chance of needing care costing £20,000 or more in life and a one in ten chance of needing care costing £100,000 or more. Once you move into a residential home the value of your house is included in calculating your savings.

Under the Dilnot proposals, a suggested £35,000 limit would be placed on the amount of money that an individual would have to pay towards their care.

Almost seven out of ten (68%) in the ICM poll commissioned by the Care and Support Alliance, believe that older and disabled people who need support with basic tasks don’t currently receive enough support.

The survey also revealed that nearly half of respondents (46%) know of someone in their family who has needed care and support with basic everyday tasks such as eating, washing and dressing and a further 4% had needed it themselves.  This shows that the issue of social care is one that touches all age groups and is far from being a niche concern.

The ICM poll of 1000 English adults was commissioned by the Care & Support Alliance, a coalition of more than 65 organisations representing older and disabled people.

The Care & Support Alliance is calling for the Coalition Government to publish its promised White Paper and funding progress report into long term care now – before the summer recess.  The Alliance warns any further delays are likely to hinder the progress of the draft Care and Support Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech last month and cause even more misery to the hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people who desperately need reform to happen.

The Care & Support Alliance is urging all those who care about the future of social care to write to their MP expressing their concerns and fears about the current system.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

The Care & Support Alliance is a consortium of over 65 organisations that represent and support older people, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions and their families. We are working together to promote urgent reform to tackle the crisis in our care system www.careandsupportalliance.org

ACEVO, Action for Advocacy, Action on Hearing Loss, Afiya Trust, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Anchor, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, CLIC Sargent, Contact a FamilyDisabilities Trust, Disability Rights UK, ECCA, EDCM, Grandparents Plus, Guide Dogs, Help the Hospices, Home Group, Housing 21, Huntington’s Disease Association, Independent Age, Jewish Care, Learning Disability Coalition, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Macmillan Cancer Care, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Mencap, MND Association, MS Society, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, NAT, National Autistic Society, National Care Forum, National Council for Palliative Care, National Family Carers Network, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, National Voices, Papworth Trust, Parkinson’s UK, RADAR, Relatives and Residents Association, Resolution Foundation, Rethink Mental Illness, RNIB, Scope, Sense, Shaping Our Lives, Shared Lives Plus, Stroke Association, Sue Ryder Care, Terrence Higgins Trust, Turning Point, United Response, Vitalise, VoiceAbility, WRVS, United Kingdom Homecare Association.

 

The three finalists for the Carers Award; Margaret Baker, Sue Colley and Christine Hayden were announced and celebrated at the Great British Care Awards 2012 with a standing ovation by 550 guests on Saturday 23 June 2012. Margaret Baker was selected as the overall winner.

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