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In an interview on BBC Breakfast this morning (Tuesday 14th January 2020) the Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to bringing forward a plan for social care reform this year and implementing it by the end of Parliament.

The Queen has today (Thursday 19th December) set out the Government's agenda in the State Opening of Parliament. In the Queen’s Speech, the new Government committed to introduce an entitlement to leave for unpaid carers juggling paid work with caring responsibilities, something which Carers UK has long been campaigning for.

Age UK has today released new research which shows 1 in 3 people over 80 are unpaid carers for sick or disabled relatives. The research reveals they save our economy a huge £23 billion a year through the unpaid care they give loved ones.

Commenting on the priorities for the new Government, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

  • Figures released for Carers Rights Day show two thirds of UK adults can expect to care unpaid for a loved one in their lifetime
  • Women taking on caring responsibilities a decade earlier than men
  • Carers UK calls for sustainable investment in social care to support millions of carers

The Work and Pensions Committee has today published the government’s response to its report on overpayments of Carer’s Allowance, the main benefit for people caring for more than 35 hours a week.

Carers UK has previously called for the Department of Work and Pensions to write off these overpayments where its own administrative delays have allowed them to accrue; this was also a recommendation made by the Work and Pensions Committee in its report. In its response the department does not commit to writing off overpayments or reviewing whether the majority of overpayments should be pursued.

Carers UK also made a number of other recommendations such as: improving communications to carers about the rules for earnings with Carer’s Allowance, researching the impact of overpayments on carers, looking at the barriers that the earnings limit places on carers and, finally, aligning the earnings limit with the equivalent of 16 hours of the National Living Wage – to make the benefits system smoother and preventing carers from leaving work.

Carers UK has published a manifesto for carers calling on all political parties to commit to improving the lives of the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has today laid a Written Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on changes to social security benefit and pension rates for 2020/21. These will come into force in April 2020.

Carer’s Allowance will rise by 1.7% to £67.25 a week, an increase of £1.10 from the current rate of £66.15 a week.

NHS Digital has today released 2018-19 data on Adult Social Care Spending in England, which includes support for those caring unpaid for adults.

In today's Queen's Speech (14th October 2019) the government committed to bring forward proposals to "to reform adult social care in England, to ensure dignity in old age."

New research launched today by Aviva suggests an estimated 2.6 million people in the UK aged 45 and above expect to give up work to care for older or disabled relatives. The research shows the impact is likely to be greater for women than for men, with 20% of women believing they would need to give up work to care compared with 17% of men.   

Yet the research found that only 6% of employers were treating this as a critical issue. 

  • Freedom of Information request reveals unpaid carers seeking replacement care for loved ones subjected to a postcode lottery
  • Hundreds of thousands of carers going without enough sleep or seeing a doctor
  • Give carers a break if we truly want to improve our social care system

The Chancellor today (Wednesday 4th September 2019) set out the Government’s spending priorities in a one-year budget review, committing £1.5 billion to social care.

Ahead of the Government’s one-year spending review tomorrow, Wednesday 4th September, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK last week wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid MP, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, to reiterate key short term spending priorities for unpaid carers.

She called on the Government to use this opportunity to increase support for carers; specifically, by doubling the amount of money available for carers’ breaks through the Better Care Fund, to ensure carers get the much needed respite that they need.

Carers UK also calls on the Government to confirm a short-term injection of funds to bridge the immediate funding gap for social care, and to outline in detail a sustainable and effective plan for how social care will be delivered and funded over the longer-term.

The National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) has today published draft guidelines for local authorities and health and social care practitioners on supporting unpaid carers.

The guidelines include directing carers to appropriate financial and emotional support, as well as encouraging them to discuss supportive working arrangements with their employers.

NICE has also recommended introducing peer support groups and appointing a carers’ champion within the workforce, who can implement the recommendations made in the guidelines and help other staff understand the responsibilities outlined in the Care Act 2014.

The Work and Pensions Committee has today released a critical report on the Department for Work and Pensions' handling of Carer’s Allowance overpayments. The Committee calls on the DWP to completely reassess its approach and consider writing off debts due to its own protracted administrative failures.

The Department for Health and Social Care has today (Tuesday 23rd July 2019) published its one year progress review of the Carers Action Plan, which was initially launched on 5th June 2018 and set out how the Government would improve support for unpaid carers in England over the next two years (until 2020).

The Prime Minister has today (19th July 2019) launched a consultation on parental leave entitlements called Good Work Plan: Proposals to support families. The consultation addresses statutory paternity leave for fathers and neonatal leave for parents of premature and sick babies, but does not address care leave for unpaid carers that the Government has promised to consult on.

Carers UK calls on leadership candidates to put UK’s families first and commit to funding adult social care

New research released today by Carers UK, the leading membership charity for people caring unpaid for family and friends, shows unpaid carers are “bankrupting their future to pay for the present”.

The Government Equalities Office has today (3rd July 2019) released a roadmap for gender equality in the UK. In it, the Government commits to advancing gender equality in the workplace. It will consult on care leave for those who are balancing work and unpaid care and will support employers to improve their offer to carers.

Carers UK responds to latest budget survey from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) carries out a survey each year of the 150 Directors of Adult Social Care in England.The report based on the survey provides data and evidence on the breadth of social care from those who are at the heart of commissioning and delivering it.

Key findings include:

  • £700 million savings planned to adult social care budgets in 2019/20.
    £7.7 billion cumulative savings since 2010.
  • For 2019/20, only 33 per cent of directors of adult social services are fully confident that planned savings of £699 million will be fully met in the year, with 65 per cent directors being partially confident.
  • 39 per cent of Directors of Adult Social Services (DASSs) stated the biggest pressure to adult social care budgets was from working age adults (17 per cent in 2017/18).
  • Only 35 per cent of DASSs are fully confident that budgets will be sufficient to meet all of their statutory duties in 2019/20.
  • Directors are least confident about meeting statutory duties relating to care market sustainability (62 per cent 2019/20, 79 per cent 2020/21), followed by prevention and wellbeing.

New data has been released today by NHS Digital on unpaid carers in England and the impact of caring on their quality of life. The survey of 50,800 adult carers in England reveals a worsening impact on carers' own health and wellbeing and finances with higher levels of sleep deprivation, stress and depression.

Responding to the findings Helen Walker, Chief Executive at Carers UK, said:

‘Living longer and old-age dependency – what does the future hold?’ the new data release from the ONS suggests that as we look at the impact of an ageing population we need to revisit the way we think about our ageing population and its impact on economic dependency.

  • 54% of carers report reduced levels of sport and physical activity because of caring.
Carers UK and Sport England have teamed up to understand how to use sport and physical activity to combat loneliness and boost well-being amongst older carers.
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