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Lib Dem carers breaks annoucement

22 February 2010
Carers UK welcomes Lib Dem carers breaks announcement but urges bigger debate

 

Today (Monday 22 February 2010), Carers UK reacted positively by welcoming the Liberal Democrat proposal that £460 million additional funding should be put into funding breaks for carers but warned that it should not be at the expense of rights to free personal care, reablement or a bigger funding settlement for social care.

Liberal Democrat's proposal would place the current breaks funding for Primary Care Trusts for 2010 which is estimated at £100 million and the £360 million earmarked for the delivery of the Personal Care at Home Bill from October 2010 towards funding a week's break for the 1 million carers providing 50 hours of care per week or more.

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive, said, "We warmly welcome the recognition that families who provide substantial care need breaks from caring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to recharge their batteries. We proposed a more ambitious plan 2 years ago when the National Strategy for Carers was being developed which would have seen at least £1,000 being given to this group of carers every year for breaks. It is vital that we see current investment in carers breaks continuing"

However, we do not want this to be at the expense of the improvements that would be delivered through the Personal Care at Home Bill. This would give people the right to free personal care – something families have campaigned for since 1993. The Bill would also substantially increase the amount of funding for reablement services which would help older and disabled people to regain skills and mobility that they have lost through ill-health which would reduce the pressure on families to care.

Imelda Redmond added, "Carers UK is renewing its calls for a sound future funding and a long term settlement for long term care. We must not divert from this vital task to reach a political consensus over care. This is a critical issue that will affect both families and the economy. We will start to reach this tipping point by 2017 so we need substantial and robust action from the next Parliament."

- Ends –

22 February 2010

For further information contact:

Steve McIntosh, Policy and Public Affairs Officer, 020 7378 4937 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07505 184262 (out of hours)

Notes to Editors:

1. The Personal Care at Home Bill will have its Committee stage debate in the House of Lords. It will give people who have substantial care needs a right to free personal care which people currently have to pay for if they have modest assets. It will help an estimated 360,000 people at a cost of £360 million.

2. There are currently around 1 million carers in England and Wales providing over 50 hours of care per week, according to the 2001 Census.

3. As part of the National Strategy for Carers published in 2008, Government announced that £150 million funding would be provided through Primary Care Trusts to provide breaks for carers. This is made up of £50 million in 2009/10 and £100 million in 2010/11. Work on funding has demonstrated that around only 10% of that funding has been spent by PCTs on breaks for carers.

4. Carers UK is a campaigning, policy and information organisation of and for carers. Carers UK makes a difference to carers' lives by:

o Campaigning for a better deal for carers;

o Informing carers of their rights and what help is available

o Training and advising professionals who work with carers

o Working across the UK through its membership and networks of branches and affiliates.

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