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Carers UK warns welfare and care cuts risk turning the clock back on carer support.

Charity says families face ‘years of anxiety’ as disability benefit changes start

Charity steps up campaign to exempt carers from ‘spare room’ penalty

March 20 2013 : In addition to downgrading forecasts for economic growth, the Chancellor announced a number of tax changes including some tax cuts, additional cuts to public spending, support with childcare vouchers, and the bringing forward of significant policies including State Pension reform and a cap on the costs of care.

The following is a short summary of how the announcements in the March 2013 Budget will affect carers and their families.

Carers UK has warmly welcomed a cross-party report from the Joint Committee on the draft Care and Support Bill, scrutinising the Government’s plans for social care legislation.

A staggering 2.3 million adults have given up work to care for an elderly parent, disabled or seriously ill loved ones, Carers UK and business forum Employers for Carers (EfC) today reveal.

A Carers UK/YouGov Poll shows just over 1 in 5 UK adults have seen their work negatively impacted as a result of caring (22%), including 2.3 million[1] who have quit work and almost 3 million[2] who have reduced working hours.

The impact was highest amongst 45-54 year olds, where more than 1 in 4 reported that caring had taken a toll on their work (27%).

Carers UK has pointed to the impact on family finances of giving up work or cutting working hours – including the risk of financial hardship and debt and the long-term damage to carers’ careers and pensions. Previous estimates also indicated that the cost to the economy of carers being forced to give up work to care showed had reached £5.3 billion in lost tax revenues and earnings and additional benefit payments[3].

The new polling is published to coincide with the 10th anniversary since Employers for Carers began as a special group which, chaired by business leaders and supported by charity Carers UK, helps employers to support and retain the 1 in 7 carers in any workplace.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

 “Caring for ageing parents or a disabled loved one is part and parcel of life, but these figures show that families are still not getting the support they need to enable them to balance work, life and caring.

As with childcare a generation ago, employers can play a critical role in shifting how we as a society support people with family responsibilities. But support from employers can only go so far, and families need to be able to access reliable, good quality and affordable care and support services to enable them to juggle work and care. Without urgent action from Government to ensure families can access this support, millions more will see their careers and earnings suffer - with long-term personal costs to families and significant costs to business and the UK economy.”

 New Employers for Carers Chair, Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas Residential Energy [4], said

“Employers for Carers has led the way in promoting effective workplace practice to support staff with caring responsibilities. Our core message is that supporting carers in our workforces is not just about being a good employer, it is good for business - improving productivity and reducing workplace stress, reducing staff turnover and recruitment costs, and enabling us to retain the talent and experience of staff who we would otherwise lose.

However these findings highlight that much more needs to be done to make supporting colleagues who juggle work and care part of normal workplace practice, and ensure that families can access the advice, support and services they need to enable them to combine work and home life.”

Employers for Carers comprises 70 employers and over one million employees. Member organisations range from micro businesses, to SMEs and large employers such as Sainsbury’s, BT Group, British Gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers and London Fire Brigade.


Notes for Editors:

Employers for Carers is a growing membership forum of employers committed to working carers, chaired by BT (to be replaced by British Gas from April) and supported by the specialist knowledge of Carers UK. With over 70 member organisations representing over a million employees from the private and public sectors, its key purpose is to provide practical advice and assistance to employers seeking to support and retain the 1 in 7 carers in their workforce. It has longstanding experience of working with employers such as BT, British Gas/Centrica, the Metropolitan Police, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the NHS, to support carers wishing to remain in or return to work.

The Carers UK/ YouGov total sample size was 2073 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th FebruaryThe survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). According to the 2011 Census the UK adult population (18+) is 49,264,545.

When asked “has caring for an elderly parent or, a seriously ill or disabled loved one (i.e. helping with washing, dressing, eating,  hospital visits, running errands etc.) ever had any impact on your work?” those with caring roles answered:

A total of 22% stated their work had been affected - 4% gave up work to care for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one; 6% reduced their working hours to care for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one; 10% said their work  had been negatively affected by caring for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one (e.g. stress or tiredness); 4% said other impact. 16% said they had cared for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one, but their work was not affected.

The Carers UK/YouGov poll forms part of the recently launched Carers UK Caring & Family Finances Inquiry.  For more information on the Carers UK Caring & Family Finances Inquiry, please visit


[1] 4.47% of UK adults polled said that they had given up work to care – the equivalent of 2,315,433 adults

[2]  5.79% said they had reduced working hours – representing 2,852,417 adults

[4] In April, Ian Peters replaces Caroline Waters OBE, formerly Director of People and Policy at BT who has become Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Government urged to exempt carers and their families from controversial charges for ‘spare rooms’

Carers UK, with six other national charities, is urging the Government to use the forthcoming Budget to ensure carers and disabled people in social housing do not face ‘bedroom tax’ payments.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirms Carers UK analysis showing rise of 11% in number of carers

Disability benefit changes to lead to shock £31 million cut in carers' benefits.

Carers UK responds to Government announcement on cap on the costs of care

Carers UK launches inquiry into financial realities of caring for older parents or disabled loved ones as poll shows widespread anxiety about care costs

The report by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, has been published today and calls for “fundamental change" in the culture of the NHS to ensure patients are cared for properly.

The number of people providing unpaid care for disabled, sick or elderly relatives and loved ones has risen substantially in the last decade.

Carers UK Chief Executive, Heléna Herklots, gave a mixed reaction to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

George Osborne’s decision to increase carers and disability benefits in line with inflation is welcome but more local government cuts will undermine the already creaking social care system.

Whilst most benefits for working age people will increase by only 1%, an increase below the level of inflation, carers’ and disabled people’s benefits will rise in line with inflation. Carers UK wrote to the Chancellor in September to urge him not to freeze benefits for carers and disabled people.

Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement Heléna Herklots said:

“Freezing carers and disability benefits would have piled extra pressure on carers and risked a further, very serious impact, on the ability of carers to make ends meet. It is a relief that the Chancellor has listened to these concerns and agreed that these benefits will rise with inflation.

Despite this families are still struggling with the greater costs of food and fuel. The Family Spending Report published this week by the Office of National Statistics shows that the average household costs for a family have gone up by £10 a week more than this time last year.

Carers are already seeing services in their local areas being cut back and charges for care increasing. The Chancellor’s announcement of a further 2% cut to local government spending from 2014 is disappointing and will result in even more pressure on the care system.

Although, benefits for carers and disabled people will go up a little in line with inflation, we hear from carers that the rising cost of living, care services stretched to the bone and reductions in welfare spending add up to a big on strain family finances."

Find more information about the Autumn Statement here





Today is national Carers Rights Day, when over 850 events take place across the country to give advice and information to the UK’s 6.4 million carers, 3 million of whom juggle work and care. Carers Rights Day is supported by Sainsbury's and they, along with other Employers for Carers members, are using the day to promote good workplace practices which support staff with caring responsibilities.

Caroline Waters OBE, Director, People & Policy, for BT Group and Chair of Employers Forum Employers for Carers, said: “Employers are seeing increasing numbers of key staff forced to give up work because the support they need to combine work and caring for ill or disabled loved ones just isn’t available when they need it. Demographic change means that increasingly, caring for older or disabled loved ones coincides with childcare. This poses new challenges to the productivity and economic activity of the nation - with businesses risking the loss of skills and talent and the significant investment it represents, if support at work and local services are not available to enable families to juggle work and care effectively.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “An ageing population means that caring for older or disabled loved ones is inevitable for all our families. Workplace and care services must catch up with this reality of family life. As the costs of childcare place a real strain on families’ ability to work, this research shows that finding affordable, good quality and flexible care for older parents or disabled loved ones is every bit as much of a challenge to families trying to juggle work and care.”

Carers UK is calling for urgent reform of social care funding, measures to stimulate a new generation of affordable care services, effective use of technology to help families juggle work with caring responsibilities and advice and information to ensure families can access support.

Carers UK is also highlighting the need for employers to consider flexible working packages for people with caring responsibilities. Sainsbury’s is one of just a few companies in the FTSE 100 with policies to support carers in the workplace. The company also raised £44,000 from the sale of Jubilee-themed bags for life earlier this year, to support the Carers UK Advice Line.

Justin King, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, who hosted the launch of Carers Rights Day said: “By working together with groups such as Carers UK, we have identified that over 20,000 of our colleagues at Sainsbury’s have caring responsibilities. We now have a carers policy, which includes offering flexible working packages for our colleagues and raising awareness in stores about carers’ rights and the practical support on offer. Creating flexible, rewarding jobs is not only part of being a great place to work, it helps us retain skilled and valuable people, which is why we’re proud to say that our turnover is currently at a record low.”



Notes for Editors:

  • Employers for Carers is an innovative and growing service for employers, chaired by BT and supported by Carers UK. Its key purpose is to provide help to employers to support the one in seven carers in their workforce. Launched in 2009 there are now 60 members representing one million employers.
  • There are a total of over 6.4 million carers in the UK today. Every year over 2 million people become carers and by 2037 it is estimated there will be 9 million carers in the UK.
  • Carers UK supports the millions of people who care for an elderly relative, a sick partner or a disabled family member, provides information and advice about caring and campaigns to make life better for carers.
  • Carers Rights Day, 30th November 2012, will see over 800 local groups across the UK running advice, information and support events. The theme this year is ‘Getting help in tough times’ – helping carers find financial help, get practical help and make the most of technology. Carers Rights Day is supported by Sainsbury’s, Tunstall Healthcare Ltd. and the Big Lottery Fund. 
  • Carers UK is also launching a new version of Looking after someone – a guide to carers’ rights and entitlements, a comprehensive guide. The guide is available free to carers who can order a copy from Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777.

Sandwich generation parents are emotionally and financially overwhelmed by the pressures of raising children alongside caring for ageing relatives, new research from Carers UK reveals.

Cass Business School report says care reform can act as an engine for economic growth

A fundamental shift in policy on care for older and disabled people could not only better support families in the UK, but also add significant value to the economy, according to a new report commissioned and published by Carers UK, researched and written by Professor Leslie Mayhew of Cass Business School.

The report argues that care must be accessible to all through improved integration of services in order to better support the 6.4 million UK carers. Understanding the economic costs of failures in care is crucial in reforming the current system.

Over three million carers juggle the demands of caring with maintaining a job, Cass Business School’s analysis indicates that reforming support for carers could deliver an economic and employment boost by helping keep carers in employment.

The report finds that restructuring care and reconfiguring services can help families stay in work alongside caring. This could deliver higher workplace productivity and staff retention for employers. In turn, this provides opportunities for growth in the care market, and improves the efficiency of care provision. Such reforms are made more necessary as more families are in the position of having to provide care to different generations simultaneously, the so called ‘pivot generation.’

Alongside improving support for working families, the report also points to wider economic opportunities. With provision of social care services failing to match rapid growth in demand for care from an ageing population, the report argues that stimulation of growth in care services to meet this demand could deliver a boost to GDP.

Chief Executive of Carers UK, Helena Herklots says:
"Too often the debate around reform of care for older and disabled people is framed as a drain on public finances. It is time we recognised that helping families to juggle work and care and stimulating a new generation of care services can act as an engine for economic growth."

Report author, Professor Mayhew says:

“We need to be much smarter about how care is organised and delivered – the system is fragmented and too complex. We need greater integration, better financial incentives, more flexibility, and a focus on prevention.”


The UK Care Economy: Improving outcomes for carers was commissioned by Carers UK in order to look at the various challenges that families are currently facing, with large societal changes underway and new demographic pressures, and give an independent view on the various contexts and opportunities for improving outcomes for carers.

The full report is available at



Cass Business School, which is part of City University London, delivers innovative, relevant and forward-looking education, training, consultancy and research. Located in the heart of one of the world’s leading financial centres, Cass is the business school for the City of London.

Our MBA, specialist Masters and undergraduate degrees have a global reputation for excellence, and the School supports nearly 100 PhD students.

Cass offers the widest portfolio of specialist Masters programmes in Europe. It also has the largest faculties of Finance and Actuarial Science and Insurance in the region. It is ranked in the top 10 UK business schools for business, management and finance research and 90% of the research output is internationally significant.
Cass is a place where students, academics, industry experts, business leaders and policy makers can enrich each other's thinking. For further information visit:


2012 marks 10 years since City University Business School became Cass Business School - new premises, name, and brand - the business school for the City of London.

This followed a generous donation from the Sir John Cass’s Foundation. Founded in 1748 by philanthropist Sir John Cass, the Foundation is one of London's oldest and largest education charities. Sir John Cass was born in the City of London in 1661 served as Alderman, Sheriff and MP for the City, receiving a knighthood in 1712.

Cass is marking this anniversary with a year of activities and events. The celebration will start in September 2012, which marks 10 years since Cass’s contemporary premises on Bunhill Row opened for business.

For more information see

Carers UK has responded to the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement on Government proposals to support parents juggling work and care.

£5.3bn cost to the economy in lost earnings of carers giving up work to care

Carers UK has written to the Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith urging them to protect carers and disability benefits from any measures to freeze benefit levels. The letter follows media reports that the Government is considering benefit freezes as part of further reductions in public expenditure. 

Carers UK urges action to tackle barriers to families accessing telecare benefits 

New research from Carers UK has shown that, despite huge potential benefits of using telecare and telehealth, families caring for ill, frail and disabled loved ones are still facing barriers to accessing the services.

Carers UK has responded to new research from Which? published today, highlighting serious failings in homecare for older people and the impact this is having on their families. 

Carers UK has expressed disappointment that the Government has today refused to support a backbench Bill designed to improve identification of carers and improve access to services to support carers and disabled people.

MPs urged to support business-backed care Bill to support ‘work, families and the economy’

Today (Friday 7th September) MPs will debate a backbench Bill to improve support services for carers and disabled people. A cross-party group of MPs, led by Barbara Keeley MP, has brought forward the Social Care (Local Sufficiency) and Identification of Carers Bill, designed to ensure disabled people and carers have access to support services to allow them to stay in or return to work.

Mirroring transformative duties on councils to promote childcare, the Bill would stimulate provision of care services, ensuring enough are available in each local area to allow families to work alongside caring for ill or disabled loved ones, and to support disabled people to work. The legislation would also place duties on GPs, NHS and social care staff to identify and support family members taking on caring responsibilities for older or disabled people. 

In addition to support across the charity sector including from Carers UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope and Age UK; the Bill has won key backing from employers including BT, British Gas and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Supporters of the Bill argue that, just as childcare duties brought about a revolution in provision allowing parents of young children to work; duties on councils to ensure sufficient care and support services for older and disabled people, would reduce worklessness and the numbers of essential staff quitting their jobs to care. 

Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT Group and Chair of business forum Employers for Carers, said: “We are seeing the mounting costs, not just to families but to business of a care system that often cannot support carers trying to juggle work with care. Stimulating the care market can deliver an economic triple win – better services for families, the infrastructure to help employers retain skilled staff and a real boost to economic growth. The debate started 20 years ago with childcare and there is now a pressing need to bring the same focus and progress to care for older and disabled people. This Bill would start this important process by placing a duty on local authorities to ensure a supply of care as is already the case with childcare.”

Barbara Keeley MP, who is promoting the Bill, said: “Families and businesses are now feeling the combined effects of a growing demographic challenge and the economic crisis. This Bill would help ensure that the services are in place to keep families in work alongside caring responsibilities. This is vital for carers themselves but also for business and the wider economy. The cross-party support for this Bill shows the growing recognition from all parties of the critical role that care services play in supporting families, employers and the economy.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “With rapidly increasing numbers of older and disabled people it is essential that workplaces and services adapt to the new reality of family life. We know around 1 million people have already had to reduce working hours or quit their jobs to care for ill or disabled loved ones, and disabled people are often unable to get the support they need to work. This Bill could represent a step-change in how care services are delivered that supports families, work and economic growth and productivity.”

The Bill will be debated by MPs on Friday, when Barbara Keeley MP will be joined by the Bill’s Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green co-sponsors, including Dr Hywel Francis MP, who has piloted through previous successful carers’ rights Private Members Bills; Sir Tony Baldry MP; Sarah Newton MP, Laura Sandys MP, Stephen Lloyd MP, Annette Brooke MP, Diana Johnson MP, Sharon Hodgson MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Alex Cunningham MP and Caroline Lucas MP. 

Organisations and individuals can add their support here...


Steve McIntosh, Carers UK
Tel: 0207 378 4937
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chloe Wright, Carers UK
Tel: 0207 378 4942
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Charities supporting the Bill: Carers UK, Age UK, Disability Rights UK, Marie Curie Cancer Carers UK, Scope, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Carers Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Parkinson’s UK, RNIB, Independent Age, Rethink Mental Illness, Action for Children, MND Association, British Association of Social Workers, Arthritis Care, Home Group, Real Life Options, National Family Carer Network, Autism-in-Mind, British Polio Fellowship, United Response, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Multiple System Atrophy Trust, Grandparents Plus.



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