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Carers UK welcomes CSR announcement for carers

09 October 2007

Carers UK today welcomed the Chancellor's CSR announcement increasing social care spending and called upon Government to take stronger steps to ensure that the NHS treats carers as partners in care.

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive, said, "Government has heard Carers UK's call for a radical rethink around the way that social care is funded. Over the past couple of years, we've produced good evidence that the care simply is not there, leaving many carers struggling to care for their disabled, ill or frail relatives in poor health, having to give up work and live in poverty.

The NHS will be benefiting from a 4% increase in its funding and yet a great deal of the reforms are predicated on the basis of people caring for people at home by relatives and friends. Yet carers often feel ignored and invisible to the NHS. It is vital that we have to ensure that carers are a priority for spending from the NHS budget as well as social care and that they are treated as partners in care.

In research we will be publishing tomorrow (Weds 10 October) we will demonstrate that social care needs to wake up to the needs of working carers who are currently failed by the system. For several years, Carers UK has been making a robust case for better and more sustainable funding of long term care, helping disabled and older people to continue living in the community.

We are therefore delighted that Government is planning to reform the funding of long term care, ending up with a Green Paper and look forward to engaging in this process. Britain has been lagging behind other countries throughout the world in finding a funding solution and we are delighted that Government taking action.

The rise the social care spending will help carers and the people for whom they are care, but it won't meet the level of unmet need that currently exists, leaving many families to struggle on as before. This is why we urgently need a sustainable funding settlement.

Redmond added, "We will be scrutinising this settlement for social care to see whether what it actually entails for carers. One particular area of concern is that the Carers Grant, which provides carers' breaks, would not continue beyond 2007/8. This settlement gives us every indication that the current spend of £185 million will continue and potentially increase. Carers tell us time and again that breaks are a lifeline and yet they've been told by service providers that their breaks could cut if the grant does not continue.

Other areas that must be tackled by Government are measures to help support carers juggle work and care and the improvement and reform of carers' benefits and income.

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