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Our five election asks for carers

a number five on the side of a house

We must also take the opportunity to tell candidates what we want from them

Politicians may think that the election campaign is their chance to speak to the country, but I think it really should be a time for us to speak to them…

I explained in a previous blog that it’s important to vote or we risk carers’ issues being neglected. But before voting we must also take the opportunity to tell candidates what we want from them.

These are our five asks for carers. If a candidate knocks on your door, put them on the spot, ask them if they will pledge to make these a reality for carers:

1. The National Carers’ Strategy must be implemented

The 10 year Carers’ Strategy to improve carers’ lives has only just begun. £255m was committed to deliver the improvements needed up to 2011, but we need parties to commit to continuing this.

2. Don’t cut the Carers Grant

Local authorities will receive £256m (England) in April 2010 to support carers. Carers need to know that this Carers Grant to local authorities will continue throughout the next Parliament. Not every area has specialist carers’ services providing information, training, advice, emotional support and respite. We need to keep the Carers Grant to support carers everywhere.

3. No carer in poverty

Too many carers scrape by on a Carer’s Allowance of £53.90 p/w. One third of carers cut back on food or struggle to pay essential fuel bills. Financial worries harm their health and ability to care. Flexible working and more respite care need to be available allowing carers to combine work and care. Benefits should be higher for those unable to work.

4. Help young adult carers in further education

Carers lose their Carer’s Allowance if they are enrolled in a full-time course or are doing more than 21 hours of training per week. This leaves many carers hoping to go to college or university with a terrible choice if their family depends on Carer’s Allowance.

5. Support young carers in school

Many young carers remain hidden from services and lose their childhood and chance to do well at school. Every school should have a young carer’s policy and lead member of staff to help staff identify and support pupils who are young carers.

Make sure your voice is heard. And let me know what your election asks are in comments section below.

Take care,

Gordon

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April 6, 2010 - Posted by | General Election | , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Regarding item 3 in particular,maybe the politicains should grant CARERS ALLOWANCE without tying to other benefits. In my case i get C.A with one hand and it is taken off my wife,s INCOME SUPPORT with the otherhand, so in fact i don,t get nothing.

    I AM NOT A SLAVE OR A SCIVVY I AM A HUMAN BEING WHO IS A FULL TIME CARER AND I WANT NOT ONLY FOR MYSELF BUT ALSO MY FELLOW CARERS JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS.

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | April 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. None of these points is strong enough! We need demands not ‘asks’ and there is no mention of the need to amend the Mental Capacity Act to protect carers from being targetted and bullied by the employees of NHS and Local Authorities when carers quite rightly stand up for the rights of the person they care for.

    We never got answers for the questions we submitted to the round the table debate so what chance of a response to any of this?

    Comment by Pat | April 9, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hello Gordon and thanks for an interesting and informative blog. We are living in difficult times and money is short. The two main parties will probably sideline carers because we are such a soft group. After all, caring 24/7 leaves little time for marching on Parliament…

    I recently received the following e-mail from Nick Clegg’s office. I find it reassuring that the Lib Dems consider the importance of caring, unlike the Tories, who talk about logic and common sense but only practise a rarefied version which sees it as being logical and common sense to help their rich friends. This is the e-mail:

    “Many thanks for your email to Nick Clegg. Nick has asked me to contact you on his behalf. I apologise for the delay in responding but I hope you’ll understand that, due to the sheer volume of correspondence that Nick has been receiving, it can take some time for us to reply.

    Many thanks for your kind words of support for Nick and the Liberal Democrats – it’s very much appreciated. Liberal Democrats know how dedicated and self-sacrificing carers throughout the country are and we have proposals to recognise and support the invaluable work they do. Between them, carers save the country an estimated £87 billion a year. They are a hidden army of heroes: some of the most committed, hard-working and under-valued people in Britain today.

    The Liberal Democrats have plans to deliver immediate help to carers who need it. In government we would provide a week’s respite care to the million carers in England who currently provide more than 50 hours of care every week. Each carer would be entitled to receive a personal budget each year, equivalent to the cost of a care home’s weekly charge, to redeem with whichever local service they choose. We would do this by using the money set aside for Labour’s flawed care bill, which actually risks cutting care budgets for some of the most vulnerable elderly. This policy would give a million carers the time they so desperately need to rest, recuperate, or simply have a holiday.

    We’re very much aware that the Carer’s Allowance is set at a very low level and that it doesn’t reflect the important work that carers do. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to review the level of the allowance, and will consider the best way to improve support for carers to reflect the personal and financial cost of care. Of course, this would be a chance to review the overlapping benefit rule too.

    Regarding your comments about the possibility of a balanced Parliament, you may be interested to read a recent article that Nick wrote for The Times, which can be found at:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6975890.ece

    Thank you once again for emailing.

    Best wishes,

    B… M…

    Office of Nick Clegg”

    Comment by Enetia Robson | April 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Using the argument of the Lessor of Three Evils when it comes to carer matters , the Lib Dems should be given the benefit of any doubt , and be welcomed by carers nationwide.

      Comment by WhoDatHeretic | April 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. DO YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE TELLING YOU. Carers over 65 years old do NOT get any carers allowance. If they claim it it is stopped off their pension, albeit my pension is only £55 per week. My life is over and I am a full time carer. I do NOT want to pack my husband off to a Nursing home for a week I just want some allowance so I can take him out with me. Why do all you younger people want to lock us over 65 year old pensioners away in homes all the time. We are human beings with the same requirements and desires as younger people. Your suggestins are insulting. Why wont anybody make any comment on the fact that we are being cheated out of the allowance that younger people are entitled to. If I was under 65 years old I would be allowed to earn up to £90 per week without loosing the allowance yet I am not even allowed to recieve a pension of £55. It is an insult.

    Comment by Gillian Ovenden | May 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Gillian, and thanks for leaving a comment. It’s good to get people’s views to help us understand what the priorities are.

      The issue of carers receiving State Pensions not being able to receive Carer’s Allowance is one we have repeatedly raised with Government and MPs. We contributed evidence to the Work & Pensions Select Committee which published a report in Aug 2008 recommending that rule was changed and we continued lobbying for this. I also spoke to the then Sec of State for Work & Pensions (Yvette Cooper) last October about this. She was sympathetic but simply said there was no money.

      In a previous blog to this one,I described how at a roundtable event we held, the Conservatives and Lib Dems said that they would look at changing this rule so we do need to keep pressing this. The earlier blog is: https://carersblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/crunch-time-for-mps-to-commit-to-carers/

      Regarding respite care, we advocated for more carers to receive more respite. However, this doesn’t mean that your husband should go into residential care. We argued that carers should have control over how they take a break and that this could mean the whole family have a break together. The carer should have that choice which might be different in different situations.

      Thanks Gillian
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] PRTC 5 election asks for carers […]

    Pingback by Carers need immediate statement from coalition govt « Carer Watch's Blog | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  6. Hi Gordon,
    Yes I understand you hear me but that doesnt answer my question. Why isnt the pensioners disgraceful predicament part of the 5 election asks for carers. Once again it is all about the young. I am not against helping the young but THE MAJORITY OF CARERS ARE OLD. Of course being old is not fashionable or trendy but it is something you will all be one day. And what is all this about carers grants to local authorities. This is once again lost money. I do not hear a thing from my local authority in North Hampshire. They do nothing for us. They do not even supply transport, There is no help for us. I am completely alone and I sometimes feel like ending it all but nobody cares.

    Comment by Gillian Ovenden | May 28, 2010 | Reply


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