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Carers UK responds to Government investment in pilot schemes to help carers juggle work and care

13 February 2015

Government has today announced £1.6m of funding for pilot schemes that will look at how technology and support can help carers combine work with caring responsibilities, a recommendation of an Employers for Carers, Carers UK and Government report on how to better support carers to remain in work.

Responding to the announcement, Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

We are delighted that Government is investing £1.6 million in launching these pilot schemes to explore how technology and support into and around employment could help people juggling work and caring for older or disabled relatives. It’s shocking that over 2 million people have given up work to care according to Carers UK’s research, either because they did not receive support in the workplace or because the right kinds of care and support were not there.

With the carer population expected to grow to 9 million by 2037 juggling care with work is set to become an everyday issue for more and more of us. There is an urgent need to put in place better support for carers in the workplace – without it millions more will fall out of work, with damaging consequences for their finances, health and well-being. Business too will suffer – Carers UK has estimated that the current impact of staff turnover, absenteeism and stress as a result of juggling work with caring is already costing UK businesses over £3.5 billion every year.

Our Employers for Carers forum, comprising over 80 private and public sector employers across all major sectors, has been playing a leading role in sharing their experiences to get this initiative off the ground. Employers within the forum, chaired by Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas, are well aware of the impact of demographic change on their workforce, combined with global and domestic competitive issues – they argue that there is simply a strong economic case for supporting carers better.

Carers UK set up Employers for Carers several years ago in partnership with a pioneering group of employers. In 2013, Employers for Carers, Carers UK and Government formed a Task and Finish Group to look at how carers could be better supported to remain in work. One of the recommendations from the ensuing landmark report was that Government should look at seed funding innovative projects combining technology and new methods of supporting carers in employment.

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