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Carers UK responds to the publication of Guidance on Care Funding

20 December 2013

The Government has published Guidance on the Better Care Fund. The Fund was announced in June as part of the 2013 Spending Round. The funding is designed to help local authorities work more closely with their local health authority to develop integrated services and to prepare for their new duties under the Care Bill.

For carers, the Fund includes:

  • £130 million for carers breaks in 2015-16, an increase on the £100 million a year which has been available since 2011.
  • Funding to implement new duties on local councils to support carers through social care services.

Responding to the publication of Guidance on the ‘Better Care Fund’, Director of Policy at Carers UK, Emily Holzhausen said:

“Carers UK is pleased to see the confirmation of increased funding for respite breaks for carers and money identified to support the delivery of the welcome new rights for carers in the Care Bill.

However this funding is not ring-fenced so it is vital that local authorities, who are under considerable financial pressure, protect this funding and ensure that it reaches families who are struggling to provide care for loved ones. Although announcements on funding for carers’ breaks are welcome, carers are disappointed to find that this doesn’t reach them on the ground – or, worse still, that the support they receive is actually being cut.

There is a very real risk that money added to budgets to support carers will drain away elsewhere as severe cuts to local council’s allocations from Government continue to result in reduced spending on social care. Alongside specific funding for carers, Government must deliver the wider social care funding needed to meet growing demand and recover from decades of underfunding. “

Carers UK is also calling for the Care Bill to be amended to include a duty on NHS bodies to identify carers. We believe this duty would support the NHS and local government in working together to improve the lives of carers, and ensure the Better Care Fund brings the greatest benefit for carers.

The Fund, originally referred to as the Integration Transformation Fund, provides for £3.8 billion worth of funding in 2015/16 to be spent locally on health and care to improve integration. In 2014/15, in addition to the £900m transfer already planned from the NHS to adult social care, a further £200m will transfer to enable local areas to prepare for the Better Care Fund in 2015/16.

Carers UK will be doing further analysis of the Fund and accompanying Guidance.

 

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