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Nation's carers face devastating £1 billion cut in allowances

03 February 2014

Government slashes support for full-time carers of older and disabled loved ones

Families caring for older, disabled or seriously or terminally ill loved ones face a shocking £1 billion cut to financial help in the next four years, charity Carers UK today reveals.

The charity is condemning the cuts, which it says are already forcing families into debt, arrears and food poverty.

The advance analysis from Carers UK’s year-long Caring & Family Finances Inquiry, is the most extensive cumulative assessment to-date of the impact of the Government’s benefits changes on the families of disabled people.

To be published in full on Tuesday 4th February, the Inquiry shows that the cuts to financial support for full-time carers between 2011 and 2018 reach a total of:

Carer’s Allowance
24,457 fewer entitled to Carer’s Allowance with implementation Personal Independence Payment.

 


£175.63m cut

Bedroom Tax
At least 40,000 carers see rent support cut by over £700 a year because of the Housing Benefit ‘spare room’ changes.

 
£150.70m cut

Benefit Cap
At least 2,946 carers see incomes capped, losing an average of £105 a week.

 
£72.4m cut

Inflation Switch
Dramatic devaluing of Carer’s Allowance by 2018 with switch from Retail Prices Index to Consumer Prices Index.

 
£421.91m cut

Real-Terms Cut To Help For Poorest
350,000 worst-off carers hit by means-tested benefits freeze.

 
£76.94m cut

Council Tax Support
Over 240,000 carers face additional Council Tax charges following scrapping of Council Tax Benefit.

 
£170.34m cut

 
Total Cuts To Carers’ Financial Support By 2018

 


£1 billion cut

 

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“The Government’s £1 billion cut to carers’ incomes is pushing families into debt and rent arrears and food and fuel poverty. These are families already struggling to make ends meet, often having been forced to quit work to care full-time for ill or disabled loved ones. Now they face even greater hardship as cuts to disability benefits kick-in and start to strip even more carers of their allowances. By pushing the nation’s carers to financial breaking point, the Government is undermining our families’ ability to care for each other.”

Government claims many of the cuts are designed to push people into work. But Carers UK argues they are actually hitting those who cannot work because they are caring 24/7 for loved ones.

Heléna Herklots added:

“The Government heaps praise on carers as ‘heroes’ at the same time as it is slashing their support. Worse still, carers are being hit repeatedly by cuts which the Government says are designed to move people into work and penalise people who are ‘not contributing to society.

“We are appalled at this lack of respect for carers’ contribution to the strength of our society and family life, and the lack of recognition that working alongside caring is impossible for many families.

"Carers save the Government £119 billion a year with the unpaid care they provide. The Government cannot afford to send the message that carers should stop caring and ‘get a job’ – not only is it insulting to the millions of families struggling with little support to care for disabled or older loved ones, but it fails to recognise that if they stopped caring, the cost to the state would be immense.”

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