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CARERS BACK TO WORK - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

CARERS BACK TO WORK

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
109 posts
Matt how can you say that Carers UK do not favour one group over the other when from your own posting you have just admitted that you have had funding to look at the issue of working carers which also just happens to play into the governments barrow of getting carers back to work?

You have not mentioned similar research into the plight of non-working carers so obviously working ones are your priority. Whether you like it or not not all carers are the same and trying to turn us into a homogeneous group under the banner of "all carers" does not work. We 24/7 carers ARE in a different situation from those who can go out and work so start standing up for us as well.

No doubt the thread will now be frozen or I will be banished or whatever for expressing my opinion - so be it.

Eun
Eun, you may wish to read this - it was authored by CUK. It is very clearly about helping all carers to stay out of poverty. We've had this discussion before, and I showed you then that CUK was not ignoring carers who do not or cannot work.
http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... rtyCharter

[quote]Carers' Poverty Charter

We, the undersigned, call for an end to carer poverty.

In the National Strategy for Carers the Government pledged that, by 2018 'carers will be supported so that they are not forced into financial hardship by their caring role.'

Carers cannot wait. Too many are living in poverty and financial hardship now - struggling to afford the basic costs of living, unable to study or work without their benefits being cut-off or facing the removal of their allowance when they start to claim their pension.

The UK's 6 million carers save the country an estimated £87 billion per year. In return, the main carer's benefit is the lowest of its kind, paid at only £53.10 a week for a minimum of 35 hours caring, equivalent to £1.52 per hour - far short of the national minimum wage of £5.73 per hour.

We call upon the Government to set out an urgent timetable of action to improve carers' benefits and income. The carers' benefits system must]
Matt how can you say that Carers UK do not favour one group over the other when from your own posting you have just admitted that you have had funding to look at the issue of working carers which also just happens to play into the governments barrow of getting carers back to work?
Eun
Simple really. CUK like any other charity has to seek funding from diverse sources or else it will perish, and as there arent that many kind people giving us cash handouts with no strings attached, it has to earn income from trading, whether that means selling Xmas cards to the public or training to social workers. So whilst the core charitable priorities remain constant, consultancy, information and training work, like any business activity, has to follow the demands of the marketplace. Of course, commercial activities have to square with ethical priciples too, and supporting working carers is a great way to keep many carers like me and my family out of poverty. But if you know any nice people with a few million to donate, please do point them this way, and if they have any specific requests such as giving support to the poorest carers, I am sure CUK will do their very best to oblige.
As for who CUK works for, surely it should work for all carers - whether 24/7 or not? In the CUK Annual Report, published in November, it was stated:

[quote]“The Strategy was very disappointing on carers benefits. It promised to review carers benefits as part of wider welfare reform. There was no immediate relief for carers in poverty. As no timetable has been given, we shall step up our campaign on this issue.â€
Matt

PS - The grants for business starts up idea is a great one. Especially tying it into benefits continuation, allowing people time to see if it workable.
Then take the idea and run with it - CUK should make it happen!


Exalibur -
But if you know any nice people with a few million to donate, please do point them this way, and if they have any specific requests such as giving support to the poorest carers, I am sure CUK will do their very best to oblige.
So are you saying that CUK bases its actions on the wishes of the source of funding?
Matt - I don't think anybody is being divisive or trying to pitt one group of carers against another - but the truth is that many of us do feel that our needs are sidelined in favour of government policies to get carers back to work - oh that this were possible!
There's a difference between claiming that the government is more interested in working carers or getting them into work, and claiming that CUK is similarly biased.

As far as suggesting CUK decides on its actions dependent on the availability of funding, that's a naive comment. CUK has a number of priority areas that it has decided on but one that manages to achieve funding will always take priority over one that cannot - where funding is needed. I've been working on a number of projects over the last 10 years but those that I've not been able to get funding for have taken a lesser priority for now.

But that's certainly not the same as with campaigning. There is no funding for campaigning but it has to be done, and fitted in somehow. CUK has an effective campaigns department, some of whose output has been discussed on this thread.
We need a more vociferous and sustained campaign to improve the benefits for carers who are unable to work. And that campaign needs to demand a fair level of benefits that reflects the work we do - ask for minimum wage levels? NOT ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!
Boggle, you can ask or demand or cajole or threaten but governments won't be moved by arguments saying "it's not enough".

What is enough? Enough for what?

When I first got involved in the carers movement about 11-12 years ago the cry was for the minimum wage. Most carers would happily accept that. But equally, most of those carers recognised that a (then) threefold increase was pretty unlikely. And I have to say it seems even less likely in the current climate.

So where do we start? What would be a good step to bring us closer? CUK have consistently suggested making CA the same rate as Retirement Pension as a start. The Select Committee for Work and Pensions put a more convoluted suggestion forward - a fixed rate of about £25 a week that every carer would get, plus the "flat rate" CA, which I think they suggested should increase to around £60 a week.

What does everyone think - what should be the starting point towards a real change in Carers Allowance?
What about a 'Carers Tax Credit - this would be the missing link between Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits, which I believe can be applied for by anyone under a certain income level.
If a Carers Tax Credit was introduced it would cover all those people who don't meet the criteria for the other two credits.
The other two credits (I believe, I'm no expert so apologies if I'm wrong) are calculated to ensure the payee receives enough money to bring their weekly income up to an acceptable 'live-able' level (based on the average wage?)
The criteria could then be formatted around carers who are unable to work (for whatever reason), with adjustments for particular living costs associated with their carees needs that have to be bought by the carer where not supplied by agencies involved with them - like I get a bit added to my child tax credits cos the boys are disabled.
Just a thought
Helen x
109 posts