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Message from Imelda Redmond - Carers UK Forum

Message from Imelda Redmond

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi all,

Imelda Redmond is Chief Executive of Carers UK and has asked me to pass on this message in response to the many discussions going on here and to those of you who have emailed.
I want to thank you all for your comments and responses to the National Strategy. I know many of you are angry that the government has put off tackling the problems with carers’ benefits. I know that many of you need financial help right now and were expecting something more from the Strategy

Let me say first of all that everyone at Carers UK – staff and trustees alike - are bitterly disappointed and angry that Carers Allowance has not been tackled. We have made our views known to the government both in person and through the media. One of our Trustees Lynda Wisbach, who cares for her husband, directly challenged the minister live on BBC Breakfast TV. During my own media appearances I’ve expressed carers’ anger about the lack of action on benefits whenever I can during an interview.

I believe firmly that over the past 18 months Carers UK has done an excellent job in making your feelings known to government. I am proud of the contributions we all have made and Ministers can have been left in no doubt what your priorities are. They chose to act on some and to delay acting on others. Our job now is to keep the pressure on and make sure they come good on the promises they have made and to keep pushing for the promises they haven’t made. We have had already been in touch with Ministers to see how we can take the issue forward.

More specifically we have already started to put pressure on the Government about the promised review of carers’ benefits. I have requested an urgent meeting with Ministers to discuss this. We have begun to plan the next stage of our Real Change Not Short Change campaign. We want to take the campaign to the next level and we are beginning to plan for that. We are very supportive of the idea of having a national day of protest and we are already exploring ways we can make that happen.

I know some of you are angry that Carers UK has welcomed the Strategy but I make no apologies for that. I believe we are right to welcome it because there is much in it to welcome. The strategy is about so much more than a single issue. As a statement of intent it represents a monumental culture shift in thinking across the whole of government. There are things in the strategy that would have been unthinkable to carer campaigners even 10 years ago. I have no doubt we are winning the argument. There is also over £250 million of new investment which we welcome. Of course there should be more and we will continue to campaign for more and to work to ensure that vision becomes reality.

Carers UK has always been a practical charity, we are successful because we have a realistic approach to government and campaigning. That doesn’t mean we let government off the hook. We will continue our campaign. This fight has been going on for over forty years and I dare say it will go on longer. We dust ourselves down and we carry on with the fight. I hope you will continue to back us because we need the support of carers everywhere.
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Thank you Matt for posting the message from Imelda Redmond.
I'd like to thank Imelda too. I'm sure other carers will agree with me that it means a great deal to us on the forums that Imelda has taken the time to make a personal response to the discussions taking place here at Carersuk and on the carer run forums, and the fact that she appreciates that carers are indeed angered about the lack of financial support for carers in the strategy.
We are very supportive of the idea of having a national day of protest and we are already exploring ways we can make that happen.
That's brilliant news Image . There surely will be a lot of support from carers all round the country.

Regards
Cheryl
I'd like to thank Imelda for responding in the face of so much criticism. But I would also like to make it clear that there was absolutely nothing in the strategy for many of us, not because our circumstances are relatively easy but because there is an utter failure of government to acknowledge that many of us are in crisis trying to cope with unsustainable situations and have been for many years; trying to keep going in order to sustain our and our carees' lives in impossible situations has become a way of life for us. With neither services nor the money to purchase them for ourselves we have nothing that could vaguely be called a quality of life, we survive through strength of character, an overwhelming sense of duty and love, for some of us love for the person we used to know not the person we now care for.

A change in Carers' Allowance to reflect the work we put in and a change in the conditions of entitlement would alleviate some of the problems we face on a daily basis but equally important is a change in the care system. Until the assessment process looks at the people we care for in the context of the family situation and not simply the needs of the person in need of care, and the needs of all the family are taken into consideration, those of us who are sick or disabled ourselves, who are elderly and frail, who are looking after more than person, who are attempting to work and care and who have to balance the needs of sibling children, i.e. all of us, and those we care for will be failed and there will never be a fair and equitable system of care.
hello matt

this is wonderful news Image
thank you so much for posting this, and please pass
our thanks onto Imelda, it is so great to hear that
she is so supportive of the carers on the forum,
and also our protest plans.

krys
Apart from supporting the protest in principle(which has not even happened yet). The CUK have nothing to feel proud about, as the real fighting has yet to start, the Strategy announcement was a huge disapointment and fell well short of everybodys very least expectations.

When the Protest does happen, I hope those that are bandying the idea around do not let CUK &PRTC hijack as their own protest (and water it down), This should be what it started of as a protest for carers by carers, with the support of CUK, PRTC and and other Harry, Dick and Tom that wants their name in the lights. It was Carers that took the initiative and proceeded to discuss openly what has been stirring for years. This would not have have happened if the Announcement had given Carers what the rightly deserved, so in other words the Strategy announcement was flop and should not be welcomed as such- because if it was so good why are we talking of protesting. Stop this welcoming and congratulating nonsense, till something worthwhile is delivered. The real fight has begun, but at least we are getting a chance to stage fight in a big arena.
I still believe that CARERS UK should have pushed the government more, the 250 million when paid out over 2 years is very little inflation alone has taken a chunk and of course increased social care charges .
When you start to sit down and talk to ministers do you know what carers really want ?

working carers is it just more respite do you know what they want ?
pensioner carers lets hope they get the carers allowance with retirement pension.
students or carers in education do we know what they want ? can the carers allowance help them surely they need someone to look after their caree thus giving them time to study can they access the new money for respite ?
young carers what is it that they need ?
carers in receipt of allowance who work p/time will the earnings level be raised above £95 if that is in fact what they want.
carers in receipt of allowance who dont work (thats me ) will we ever get the carers allowance raised to reflect the work we do and the cash we save the state.

carers should also have free bus travel when with caree
free prescription charges
dental care / optical care
the 25% council tax should be raised to 50%

carers allowance are you in favour of retaining the allowance as it is now ? the one thing that worries me is the new so called out of work benefit it will be a one benefit for all and being a carer will be a justified reason to be out of work however it is suggested that it be paid for only 12 weeks then means tested like I.S. therefore many carers like myself who were able to give up work and care did so because we had occupational pensions not very large but enough to keep us out of the I.S. benefit therefore if means tested for carers allowance we would sad to say get NOWT. If O.A.Pensioners receive the carers allowance alongside retirement pension then so should those of us with occupational pensions , ive checked many statements from carers uk and have never found anything re those carers who with their occupational pensions are technicaly subsidising their relatives care .

GEORGE ==== bet ive missed summit

i often get confused - as a 24/7 carer i know what i want but i`ve never seen in print what others want apart from pensioner carers i just wish carers uk would tell us in plain English what the targets are for each group of carers
I must agree with Annab this protest is a carer led inniative
but we do openly welcome and thank cuk in there support and assistance
in making it happen.
George wrote
carers allowance are you in favour of retaining the allowance as it is now ? the one thing that worries me is the new so called out of work benefit it will be a one benefit for all and being a carer will be a justified reason to be out of work however it is suggested that it be paid for only 12 weeks then means tested like I.S. therefore many carers like myself who were able to give up work and care did so because we had occupational pensions not very large but enough to keep us out of the I.S. benefit therefore if means tested for carers allowance we would sad to say get NOWT. If O.A.Pensioners receive the carers allowance alongside retirement pension then so should those of us with occupational pensions , ive checked many statements from carers uk and have never found anything re those carers who with their occupational pensions are technicaly subsidising their relatives care .
This is why I keep saying that carers and the CA needs to be seperated from the rest of the benefit system. Its the only way for carers to get out from under the benefit rules and regs, like the over lapping benefit rule.
Its the only way carers can be funded and paid a decent amount, which they are in fact working for. If carers aren't subjected to the same rules and regs as other benefit claiments their case/cause and merits can be judged on its own?
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if we as carers did receive the same as " out of work claimants " we would still be "working" as carers we need to be rewarded not penalised .


GEORGE=====
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We do George, absolutely correct Image
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