Carers in the News

Blogs are good when you’ve got newsworthy things to talk about. The problem is that if carers’ issues are in the media, then it generally means I’ve got no time to write a blog. So, the blog I was going to write after Andrew Marr was asking Iain Duncan Smith about what he will do for carers two Sundays ago was superseded by the young carers’ story the Tuesday after. Which, was combined with the Government announcing £400m breaks for carers.

Then there was the Government’s new Vision for Adult Social Care and what it means for carers, but before I could write anything, I was at events with carers two days in a row and wanted to speak about those. Then the Carers’ Strategy was published on Thursday and the Government announced £6m to improve GP support of carers.

Every time I went to write something, it was yesterday’s news. I always get told that blogs have to be current to be read by people, although I’m not sure how many readers I have to lose!

However, if you will permit me I will do a rapid succession of blogs covering all of these immediately after this blog. And anyway taking time to look back at things is healthy…

But all of this activity has made me ask whether this is a sign that carers as an issue is becoming ever more central to political and social discourse.

When everything is being cut, £400m extra is being announced for carers. When the Equality Act came into force, it was the benefits for carers that was highlighted (good job Carers UK). When the Coalition Government published its Programme for Government, there were specific commitments made to carers, when other issues were ignored. The party leaders discussed carers’ issues live on TV twice during the election and specific pledges were made.

I know it will not feel like it for many if not most carers, but as a movement, this could be our time to make great strides forward. The Law Commission and the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support will make recommendations next year which could fundamentally change the legal rights and level of support carers can expect. This is our time that we must make the most of.

The one thing I have learnt in these two weeks is that attention can be fleeting, moving onto something else very quickly. Before you know it, a royal has got engaged and the whole world goes gaga meaning carers’ issues drop back down. We can’t let that happen, not now.

Take care



November 29, 2010 - Posted by | Benefits, breaks for carers, Budget, Carers movement, Carers Strategy, Conservatives, David Cameron, Individual Budgets, Liberal Democrats | , , , ,


  1. Looks good on paper! But it doesn’t work in real life, example – after your message regarding £256M for regional councils I contacted Northumberland County Council and asked how much they had received, how much they had spent and what had the remainder been budgetted for? Guess what – no response, but I did get the figure from the NHS. The council received over £1.5 million but I cannot get any details as Northumberland County Council seem to have ‘Lost the Money’.

    Comment by Terry White | November 29, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi Gordon

    It’s true there have been some fast-following events and pieces of news regarding carers. I attend the Carers UK AGM & Summit last week and it was well attended as usual. I think that Maria Miller and Paul Burstow felt more under fire than even they expressly welcomed! I was hugely disappointed by a remark made by Paul Burstow in response to a question about Carers Allowance that caring shouldn’t be equated to doing a job!!! There were gasps of shock around the room. This coming from someone who is supposed to be carer-friendly. In terms of the promises being made for extra funding, carers were demanding ressurances that the money would be spent on what it is intended for and not a repeat of the PCT carers breaks money – once again it seems that carers have to be proactive in ensuring that the money is spent on them … no ring-fencing. The other point about the extra funding and the promises that there will be no cuts to frontline services – local experience is already proving that those cuts are a reality already. Carers UK has laungehd “Cutwatch” and people should either go online, or phone or write in with examples and case studies of people’s support being cut. Vigilence and scrutiny are required here.

    Comment by Jill Pay | November 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Jill,
      I agree with you about the Ministers coming under fire.

      Gordon is right about the number of papers/reports published ….

      Refresh carers strategy,
      21st century welfare,
      Universal credit paper,
      Next steps 4 the Carers Strategy….

      and yet addressing carers finances still delayed.
      Miller seemed to be pushing the Universal credit and Burstow pushed Direct Payments for carers. Considering social care is in crisis now and cant cope, what hope is there for the future for more to qualify for help.

      Fact remains, support from families is a necessity now and will be even more vital in the future.

      Like you said Jill, we need be extra vigilant and that they dont use ‘reform’ as a cover for massive cuts.

      Comment by Rosemary | November 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. Why do GP’s need extra money to support carers? Should they not do this anyway?

    Comment by Casdok | November 30, 2010 | Reply

  4. My local council sent out a letter threa few months ago saying they were reviewing elgibility criteria for other words making cuts in care. Despite my husband’s condition not having changed and my family circumstances being considerably more difficult (I am now also caring for other family members) my husband’s Direct paymants (my respite) was cut by an hour. So I am now caring for my husband 148 hours a week not 147!

    If CA is scrapped and carers put on UC and UC is means tested i will lose all financial support as a carer and my savings will disappear even faster than they are now.

    I am puzzled at your optimism for the future plight of carers. Are you existing in some parallel universe?

    Here at the coal face things seem to be getting tougher and with without ring fenced funding i don’t hold out any hope of them improving!!

    Comment by Philippa | November 30, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Philippa
      I know that the optimism could indicate that I have no idea of the reality for many carers. But I also think that there will be carers who will benefit from the £400m being given to the NHS. Not all of it will get to carers, just as only £37.5m of the £150m did but I do know that there were carers who benefited from that extra spending. Not enough carers did, but some did and I just hope that more will so this time.

      I hope this explains where I’m coming from a little bit.

      Comment by Gordon Conochie | December 6, 2010 | Reply

  5. With the imminent demise of Carers Allowance being transferred to the Universal Credit, Carers will lose out yet again. The £400m given to the NHS will not reach any Carers pockets oh no sir, we can’t have Carers deciding what they want for themselves can we? Why can’t Carers just be given the money straight? Could it be because aside from those getting CA, the government knows nothing of the whereabouts of the other 2m odd Carers!
    Talk of “targeting” funds to Carers needs is therefore misleading spin.
    As long as Carers benefits of any kind are lumped in with the spending review there will inevitably be cuts rather than increases. This is what the chancellor wants and they seem determined to cut everything, so don’t believe talk of “ring fencing” anything!

    Comment by ians12 | December 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. Our council got £1m but spent £300k on admin and the rest on care for the elderly! None paid to Carers at all.

    Comment by ians12 | January 5, 2011 | Reply

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