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Comprehensive Spending Review: What it Means for Carers

Note: The following blog post has been contributed by the Director of Policy at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Moira Fraser

Well, Wednesday was the day we’d been waiting for. After months of saying “we’ll have to see what happens in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR),” we finally got there.  We were expecting the reduction in funds to local authorities, and the scythe to benefits for many. That doesn’t make them any more palatable. We didn’t expect the social care money – £1billion to local authorities and £1 billion from the NHS – somehow. It is unlikely to be ring-fenced , so get your calculators out folks and start counting where it goes.  A bit of a sweetener, and in the spirit of fairness (to use a Cameronian term), this is better than we thought it might be.

But  then you look at some of the details. Carers are generally not at the most affluent end of the market, and are likely to start experiencing this new “fairness” first hand. Rents for new tenants in social housing are 80 per cent of the private market rate. This means that the average rent for a three-bedroom council home is likely to treble from £85 a week to £250 a week. Benefits are being capped at £500 a week which means that about 50,000 families, mainly in London, will lose on average £93 a week. And that’s before we start on the one year time limit for some people on Employment and Support Allowance, changes to Housing Benefit, removal of Education Maintenance Allowance, reduction in support for adult learners studying for GCSEs or A levels for the first time, and a vast range of local amenities likely to be severely cut.

Carers support a family member or friend,  often at great personal cost, generally for nothing or for a pittance of £53 a week Carers’ Allowance . They save the national exchequer 87 billion pounds a year. I’m not sure what is more cost effective than that. Cutting chunks of a vulnerable family’s income means they end up with fewer choices and fewer chances. Social care can help, but it can’t replace a decent income and a range of community support.

“Those with the broadest shoulders must carry the heaviest burden” said the Chancellor.  Well I’d agree with that. It’s just that these don’t sound like the people with the broadest shoulders to me.

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October 22, 2010 - Posted by | Budget, Carers Strategy, Conservatives, David Cameron, Liberal Democrats | , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Jim Royle would have been rather more direct about it, but the message would have been as plain. If this review was fair, I can only imagine how bad an unfair one would have been.

    And not one word about carers. Not one. In 106 pages.

    Comment by charles47 | October 24, 2010 | Reply

  2. Carers didn’t feature at all in the 106 pages of the spending review. Just lumped in together with all the others most likely to be in poverty and therefore somehow more responsible than everyone else for getting the country out of the mire?

    It makes poor economic sense, poor moral sense and poor political sense.

    Comment by charles47 | October 24, 2010 | Reply

  3. May be the problem lies with this. I recently attended a Carers Forum put on by our PRT Carers Centre. Two representatives one a Tory councillor the other an employee from the local County Council talked about the public consultation on the future budget for the county . This was the last event in the process. They referred to Carers as being volunteers. The audience rightly reacted and speakers from the floor responded angrily. So if that is what the Government thinks we are we have no hope. They had not consulted their own Carer workers department before launching the Public consultation. The ignorance out there is appauling. I have been part of the Big Society since I became a Carer 33years ago struggling on without help or understanding.

    Comment by Daphne Sanderson | October 25, 2010 | Reply

  4. In reply to Daphne’s comments above; I heartily agree the ignorance out in there is more than appalling. How on earth can Carers be called volunteers – if that is the perception, then where do we go, what do we do to be heard?

    Deep down I am not surprised – I see the ignorance within my own family. I care for my elderley Mum who is very frail, arthritic, has mild dementia and urinary problems. If I ever bring up the subject of Caring e.g. that I use the Princess Royal Trust website, where carers support each other, and that I also belong to Carers UK – they show no interest. This is my flesh and blood, and as long as I go on caring for my Mum and the status quo doesn’t change, that’s fine by them. What I do is not considered ‘work’ by my family. It’s only until you speak to a Carer or ex-Carer you get onto the same wavelength.

    Never mind the Big Society – I am mightily sick of hearing about it, it’s a Fairer Society that we need, and sadly, this Government are not going to create this.

    Comment by Anne Yavary | November 8, 2010 | Reply

  5. this only goes to make one feel even more frustrated angry and depressed struggling on year after year trying to cope on a pittance as it is.
    Thanks cameron et al.You have shown as always the tories cannot be trusted where health and support and sanity and fairness is involved.

    Comment by Chrissie Manfredi | December 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. Well said Daphane, I can only echo your comments strongly, it seems time after time Carers are telling those in charge, what needs to change & where support and help needs to be addressed but to not avail. There is a cut-off point & no accountability. I am fed up of listening to presentations by those who have never been a Carer but are always saying they understand Carers issues.

    Comment by Carol Joyce Walsh | December 1, 2010 | Reply

  7. it is in my opinion that because we live in the western world we have chooices in days gone by choices were something totally alien to our forfathers. As this nation grew richer it was possible to benefit Those citizens in society that had fallen on had times often through no fault of their own, usually unemployment or illness and disability. It was never intended to be a long term fix for those in society who could not help themselves. I am a carer myself and to that extent i think we all are to some degree or other we all care for some one or something whether that is children elderly parents friends or even ourselves every single one of us cares for something even cats and dogs the bigget picture shows us that Almighty God cares for us the Government are supposed to take care of the running of the nation not individuals lives.we pay taxes to support the nation in the vain hope that the money will be distributed fairly. What beggers my belief is that when you have a government that is willing to donate 7 billions on people who choose to have no connection with Britain and have chosen independence we still give them money. I call to your attention the fact that when the previous tory administration was in power it left tony bloody blair and co horys with 30 billion pounds to spend on anyone who wasnt British. So i can understand everyones anger but the buck stops with the last government they had a chance to change things they chose not to instead wasting billions of pounds on iraq and afghanistan

    Comment by Richard Holdsworth | December 1, 2010 | Reply


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