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CARERS' LETTER FOR MPs, etc. - Carers UK Forum


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Below is a copy of the letter referred to under the thread 'Gordon Brown and carers'. It is composed by carers who live with the problems of caring. It is appreciated carers have very little time to sit down and write letters, so the idea is that carers, their friends and families can copy the letter - either in its entirity or adapted as required - and send it to their MP and other interested parties.

What does everyone think?

Name Date
Post Code

Carers have heard from various politicians how much they value and appreciate the work and commitment of Carers. Carers are frustrated with battling with an unfair, uncaring system. Carers are fearful of the future. Carers do not feel valued or appreciated. This, and preceding governments, have not made a serious attempt to solve the problems that Carers experience every day.
The main problems being:
1) Poverty : Poverty caused by the appallingly low CA Benefit.
Carers struggle to pay their bills and feed and clothe themselves. This is entirely caused by the restrictions of the responsibility of being a Carer. I.e.: The level of Care they provide result in many being unable to work even part time.
2) Housing : Many Carers lose their homes because they are unable to meet the mortgage repayments when they give up work to become a Carer.
3) Respite Care : Carers work with out a break for months sometimes years on end because they cannot afford to pay for Respite Care, or it is just not available.
4) Over Lapping Benefit Rule : This rule ensures that Carers live on an inadequate income.
5) Health Care Costs : In spite of their appallingly low income Carers pay for Prescriptions, Dental Care and Eye Tests.
6) Pension : Carers Allowance is stopped at pension age. This causes immense hardship to pensioners, because as Carers they incur extra expenses.

The enormous contribution that Carers make to society should be recognised with appropriate and realistic financial support. They need support in the form of disability aids and training.
Carers need emotional and physiological support in the form of Reliable Respite Care. So that like every other person on the planet they can come back to their work rested and refreshed. ( Even God rested on the seventh day!).

As more people become aware of the hardships that at automatically go with becoming a Carer; many may choose not to become a Carer. Consequently the full cost of that Social Care will fall upon society and the government. In the long term it would make more economic sense to adequately support Carers than it will to provide care for their Carees.
There are two options. A) Pay Carers an amount that reflects their work load and commitment in keeping with the cost of living, so that they can support themselves financially. Plus Free Respite Care of 4-6 weeks per year. It is the only realistic way they can have a break. I don’t know of any other category of people who have to pay someone else to do their job while they have a break or take a holiday. To add insult to injury they have to pay more than they themselves receive for the same work.

Or B) Put together a far more extensive and realistic range of financial benefits and support.
1) A Substantial Increase in Carers Allowance
2) Make Carers Allowance a Non-Means Tested Benefit
3) Free Respite Care, prescriptions, dental and eye care, Free Adult Education.
4) Carers Allowance to continue after reaching Pension age.
5) Disregard all Carers Savings
6) A Non Means Tested Extra Payment (To cover Mortgage Repayments, heating, travel and transport costs).

To appropriately provide for Carers a separate Community Care Tax should be implemented exclusively for the provision of Carers. Our Government could also follow the Spanish example of running a Lottery, the proceeds to be used for Carers.

The public may not like the prospect of another Tax; but one thing that is guaranteed is that faced with the prospect of becoming a Carer they will be even less thrilled that there isn’t any particular fund of money set aside for them.
Because of illness, the consequences of an accident or just infirmity and frailty of old age. Becoming a Carer can happen to anyone. It is a fact of life and it should be properly provided for.
A separate Tax and Lottery Fund would ease the burden on other services and finances that are at present paid for out of the UK’s general budget.

This government says it wants to banish poverty; so why is this government by it’s inaction abandoning hundreds of thousands of it’s own citizens to live and work with out the benefit of basic human rights?

Hi Pysie,

Excellent letter with so much detail,it covers every point that needs to be raised.How effective it will be, remains to be seen but Cheryl has hopefully made a massive step forward with this and anything that gets carers working alongside each other can only be for the good of us all.

If you can keep us posted when she wishes these letters to be sent.

In the meantime, can you do me a favour please, and ask her permission for the following....

1. I would like to use her letter to send to several local newspapers,whether she wanted the nationals is up to her.

2. I have in excess of 300 friends/contacts ( not forum related ) on my MSN and Yahoo accounts.They are scattered the length and breadth of UK.Some have caring roles but the majority dont.However as we always say, noone knows what is round the corner and one day they too may have to become carers.
I would like Cheryls permission to forward a copy of her letter to all on my lists and ask for their support with this.

I have altered the one I use slightly as 2 things in the standarised one that I am not sure about as yet,I will mull it over though but thats only my personal view.

Thanks Pysie for posting that here (with a little copying and pasting help from Wildthing Image Image .)
Thanks Wildthing.
Thanks to Matt for agreeing the letter could be shown.

Lastly but by no means least,thank you and well done to Cheryl.So much thought,time and effort gone in to creating the letter.

I will pm you my email Pysie, if Cheryl would like to contact me,so your not acting as a go between if I need to ask her any more questions.

Well done

I believe all the other Carer's coards and websites are arranging to mass send this letter recored delivery am I right?,
Does CARERS UK officially endorse this letter? Are they going to take part? By that I mean are any or their workers or management going to send a copy of this letter?

If not what not? Just wondering
Just to answer a few questions - it is for the Trustees of CUK to decide whether they want to participate as a charitable organisation. Whilst CUK (and 'the other' carers' charity) have endorsed this letter by allowing its development and agreeing to its publicising on their boards, I am well aware that Charity Law may hamper their complete involvement because of the political nature of the letter. The charities do wonderful work on behalf of carers and we would not wish to 'drop them in it' with the government! I hasten to add - there is no party-political bias behind the letter and no ulteria motive in suggesting it - only a sense of injustice on behalf of ourselves and fellow carers who have no 'voice' except through the carers' charities who are limited in what they can say and do.

We have contacted both charities to ask if they want to be involved and if they can give advice as to the best way forward. Because we did not want to prejudice their charitable status, the correspondence has not been published on the boards. I hope they will comment openly on the boards themselves when they have come to a decision.

Takecare - I hadn't heard about this. Which carers' sites are you referring to? At the moment we are waiting to hear whether the two charities feel able to support us enough to allow the letter to be taken into their carers' centres so we can reach at least some of those carers who do not have access to the Internet.

So what do people think? Should we wait until we can involve those who visit carers' centres? How would they feel if they heard about it without being given the opportunity to participate? Should we send the letter before/after Carers' Week? This is 11 - 17 June, so do we have enough time? Should we delay it, or should we strike while the iron is hot?

I don't know. We are all carers together and this has to be a joint decision. This is a letter devised by a carer, for carers. If nothing else, we need to get the media on our side, so who is willing to contact their local newspaper/radio/TV?

If anyone wonders why Cheryl hasn't posted here herself, it is only because she has had repeated problems registering on the site. Nothing she's said or done - purely technical. I hope she might be here by now?

Matt and Rosemary - anything to add?

Love Image
ps - Thanks, Rosemary, for your support. 300 friends in your address book???!!!! I've got seven! (Lol)
i have always been told our care allowance is not a "wage" as we dont actualy "work" so what is it?
i have a friend who with his wife works as a foster carer as far as i know he gets about £400-00 per child per week how is it the state says to look after a chid you need all this cash yet to care for a disabled relative old or young w get £49-00 per week even if you care for more then 1 relative.
is the foster care cash a wage or is it to be spent on the child?
Hi, G.herschel,

I don't now if the foster-care payment is a 'wage' or if it has to be spent on the child. You'll have to ask Gordon Bown (or Tony Blair??). I only know my Mum would LOVE £400 per week to be spent on her!!!!

The £46.95 per week Carers Allowance IS a 'wage' because the government will not pay it unless we WORK a minimum of 35 hours per week as a carer.

But the government calls Carers Allowance a 'benefit'.

But Carers Allowance is taken into account as a 'wage' when calculating other benefits, such as Income Support........ .


A live-in carer, who is not related to the person they care for - and does it purely for money, not love - can 'earn' up to £500 per week -plus board and lodging, expenses, pension scheme, health-care, paid holidays, support and respite at the end of a phone, etc. etc.. And they do not have to undertake nursing duties or cleaning!!!!

This is exactly why we have divised the letter.

Love, Image
Hi Cathy,

I am busy sorting Cheryls letter out with friends.Some are changing it slightly and adding in things relating to their own areas and their own circumstances.One girl has asked if she can place a copy on her notice board at work and get names like you would do on a petition.
Cheryl emailed me and I sent her an idea for her to think over.

By the way,I said my list was a mixture of contacts as well as friends... Image .I know I talk a lot ( as most of you will agree with ) but even I could not keep up with that many people.

I will email yourself or Cheryl when I know more of what is happening at my end.

x x x

Following on from the fostering part of this thread,I was out driving today and a footbridge over our dual carriageway had a banner suspended from it....Become a foster carer.....EARN £25,000 + per year.You will know the road George...the Felling bypass.
Noone disputes that foster carers do a great job and for many its not as easy a time as people think but they do it by choice and given a far better financial package.
Just to answer a few questions - it is for the Trustees of CUK to decide whether they want to participate as a charitable organisation. Whilst CUK (and 'the other' carers' charity) have endorsed this letter by allowing its development and agreeing to its publicising on their boards,
So they have endorsed it, just not officially? This is so naive, you'll just get the usual reply fromsome facless official or it will be treated as junk mail. if you want it to work then Carers UK need to officially endorse the letter, it wouldnnt interfer with their charity status one jot.

Of course you won't get an answer now till after the week end because unlike us carers they'll be taking the time off.

It would be nice to see soem balls from Carers uk for a change