Carers’ Strategy After Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review

The Government’s consultation on their Carers’ Strategy (England) closed on 20th September and they will publish what they will do over 2011-15 in Nov/Dec after considering what is announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20th October. This is when we find out how much government departments and local authorities will get and for what over 2011-15.

The problem I see for this Government regarding carers is that the Coalition Programme for Government published in May this year contained the following pledge:

“We will use direct payments to carers and better community-based provision to improve access to respite care.” (England)

Hitherto, it is local authorities after a care(r) assessment that decides who should get a Direct Payment and it is local authorities that fund organisations that provide respite. If Government cut funding to local authorities, as they will, then how can they deliver the pledge of improved access to respite?

So, I was surprised when Paul Burstow repeated that there will be more direct payments to carers. Likewise, how will they deliver better-community based provision when local authorities will be receiving less and it is a near certainty that the Carers’ Grant will not be repeated?

In 2010/11, local authorities in England received £256m within their total budgets to spend on carers. It was not ring-fenced but how much each council received of the £256m was published so local people were able to hold councils to account for what they did with that money. Councils will still be expected to support carers, and they will be monitored on this, but it is unlikely they will receive an identifiable amount for this.

We also talked to Paul Burstow about the commission on long term funding of care and support. This commission will produce a detailed plan by the end of July 2011 and Paul Burstow will not comment on potential plans while the Commission is deliberating. I told him that a health professional once told me that the biggest stumbling block to close working between health and social care is that health care is free at the point of need and social care is not. Since he was so enthusiastic for closer working, I asked him what he thought of this. Seeing what I was angling for, he just smiled and declined to comment.

Ivan Lewis MP, who has been elected to the shadow Labour cabinet, agreed with me in the future system carers have to be compensated for providing care as I set out in a previous blog discussing insurance scheme for care needs.

However, we do need to know soon how they will give more direct payments to carers and ensure better community-based support.

Take care


October 20, 2010 - Posted by | Benefits, Budget, Carers Strategy, Conservatives, David Cameron, Liberal Democrats | , ,


  1. Carers in Scotland don’t get Direct Payments!

    Comment by ians12 | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. The New Philanthropy Capital blog has posted its initial analysis of the CSR, which might be of interest – look for the 20 October entry. The author has picked out the risk to ‘discretionary’ government-funded services and has mentioned respite care as a possible example of a service which might be threatened (see the fourth paragraph, beginning “First, although the Chancellor…”).

    Comment by exilednzer | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  3. I am really surprised at Paul’s comments I always thought he was on the side of the Carers, after all Carers save the Government a lot of money, its like cheap, often with no breaks at the detriment of their health. With at times no time for the rest of the family or friends….

    We should embrace the work they do ,with backing from the professional health community.
    Anne Diamond Chair of Harrow Carers

    Comment by Annediamond | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  4. How much will be paid to carers by direct payment – I have been a carer now for 12 years and have not received one penny. It would seem that some carers receive assistance whilst others don’t, perhaps a new system might help all carers!! – I won’t hold my breath on that one.

    Comment by Terry White | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  5. The DWP has commissioned a leading medical recruitment agency to recruit nurses, doctors and physiotherapists on much higher than average salaries and benefits packages to carry out assessments and re-assessment of people in receipt of DLA. Surely this enormous financial investment in recruiting these assessors must be with the aim of finding people to cut from the system? One of the qualifying criteria is that they must be good at meeting targets!!!

    Comment by Jill Pay | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  6. Its all well and good talking about future provision for carers BUT what really concerns me is the goverments declaration to subject those on DLA to new medical assesments. Foe the the first 3 years that my wife recieved DLA she was MEDICALLY EXAMINED by an INDEPENDENT DOCTOR. After 3 years the last doctor sais she woiuld never have to go through that again. I sat in the examination room each time wife wsa examined,i swore then i would NEVER LET HER GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN and I WILL NOT.
    Maybe i copuld get a personal reply on this issue.

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | October 22, 2010 | Reply

  7. As a long time supporter of the Lib Dems, a councillor for eight years I cannot support what is happening to the principals of what has changed.

    It appears to me that all that I believed in has gone, for the sake of power.

    I feel that Labour has never lost the fact that society needs to be represented by those that look at the wider scene rather than pander to those that already have.

    Comment by Annediamond | October 22, 2010 | Reply

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