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Responding to the Government’s publication of its white paper on social care reform, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“We’re pleased that the Government has published its Social Care White Paper which sets out some important and long-awaited proposals to reform the system. Importantly, unpaid carers are included throughout the proposals and recognised as an equal partner in care.

We welcome the announcements of £25 million to work with the sector to improve services to support unpaid carers, the £30 million to help local areas innovate services, and £150 million to drive adoption of technology across the sector. These all have potential to improve the experiences of unpaid carers. The proposals to encourage digital technology, improve data collection and sharing of data could all make carers’ lives easier. 

“We welcome the fact that sector funding announced today for unpaid carers will focus on breaks and peer support looking at encouraging new and different models of supporting carers.

“However, many unpaid carers tell us they are at breaking point, exhausted and on their knees after more than 18 months caring with little or no outside support right now. 72% have not had a break at all from caring since the start of the pandemic. We are concerned that there is no substantial funding to enable carers to take the breaks they desperately need.  We have already called on the Government to provide £1.5 billion to enable all carers to take a break this winter.

“The challenge we continue to face including the workforce shortages, is that without realistic investment, this vision and aspiration which we support, will not be delivered and unpaid carers and their families will not see the change in levels of support they need now.

“After years and years of underfunding, unpaid carers have been propping up a system on the brink of collapse even before the pandemic. These proposals come at a point at which, in 2021 as we head into winter, we are experiencing a chronic shortage of services.

“Unpaid carers and those they care for are experiencing real hardship and suffering. To truly reform our social care system and make it sustainable, significant investment has to match this vision for change. Without additional money and adequate staffing now, carers will simply not be able to cope in the coming months.”

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