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Bring on 2013 – except if you’re on benefits

Benefits

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas. 2012 was a year of many changes, both here at Carers Trust and in real life.

Policy-wise we had some highlights. Seeing a draft Care and Support Bill with carers not only mentioned, but forming a central plank of the whole Bill was a real boost. But all that is against a backdrop of increasing cuts which takes the wind out of the sails of any progress.

The cuts are coming from all sides, and I guess there’s no way of escaping. But it seems like carers and disabled people seem to be taking hit after hit after hit – way more than a fair share.

Food prices are up, gas and electricity prices up, transport and fuel prices up, and VAT at 20%. No-one escapes this. Few people in work are experiencing increased income in line with the cost of living, meaning most people are going through a real-terms cut, year after year.

Concerns over welfare benefits uprating bill

To top it all, the Government decide that people on benefits might as well live with this too. The welfare benefits uprating bill is in Parliament, and MPS voted in favour of taking it forward in the second reading debate last week.

We were told that disabled people would be protected – and Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance and people in the support group of Employment and Support Allowance will continue to have these benefits increased in line with inflation. However, those in the ESA work ready group will have their rises limited to 1%, and other non-disability specific benefits such as Housing Benefit will also be limited to 1%.

These are cuts. Despite the promises, disabled people and carers have only been partially protected. You can find out how your MP voted here (scroll down to the second vote, Division No. 129 at 7.13 pm).

If you don’t like how they voted, you should write to them and say so. (NB – check your MP’s name in the AYES and the NOES list on the above link. If it appears in both, it means they effectively cancelled out their own vote – this is the traditional way of abstaining.)

Not all carers exempt from benefits cap

The other issue which will come into play is the cap on benefits. Inexplicably, carers – even those acknowledged as having entitlement for Carers Allowance, spending 35 plus hours a week in a caring role – will not be exempt. This means that what they receive each week, if they are not classed as living in the same household as an exempt person, will be limited.

This will have a massive impact on carers, particularly those in areas where housing costs are high, such as London. The only option for those carers may be to stop caring so much and work instead, or to move to another area – perhaps meaning they are far away from the person they care for. This makes no sense to anyone.

For people struggling to make ends meet already, these week on week reductions in income will have an extremely painful impact. Last October, at Conservative party conference George Osborne made it clear more cuts were coming so this won’t be the last.

Carers Trust will of course, be supporting the Hardest Hit campaign trying to ensure carers’ voices are heard, but it’s going to be tough. Welcome to 2013 folks.

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January 16, 2013 - Posted by | Benefits, Uncategorized | , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. I Have been a CARER for 26 years and this present government has proved to the most CALOUS and COLD HEARTED i have ever known.
    About 12 months ago after years of suffering i finally spoke to my doctor and was diagnosed CLINACALLY DEPRESSED. I have recieved 3 months COUNSELLING and have been on medication since then.
    All i ever hear is that the DISABLED and there CARERS are;
    a drain on the people of this country

    scroungers

    lazy

    work shy

    WHEN IS IT GOING TO END????????????????????????????????????

    HOW MUCH ARE WE /AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE?????????????????????????

    HOW MUCH DOES ANYONE REALLY CARE ABOUT THE DISABLED AND THERE
    CARERS????????????????????????????????????????????????//

    NOBODY ASKED ME TO BE A CARER AND NOW IT SEEMS TO ME NOBODY REALLY CARES ABOUT THE COST I HAD TO PAY

    BEING A CARER IS NOT A MONEY SPINNER OR MAKER IN FACT
    WHAT WE DO AS CARERS IS SAVE THIS COLD HEARTED GOVERNMENT AND THIS
    UNGREATFUL NATION BILLIONS OF POUNDS EVERY YEAR.

    WE AS CARERS CAN ONLY TAKE SO MUCH

    THINK ABOUT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WHO WILL CARE FOR YOU IF YOU BECOME DISABLED AND/OR OLD AGE TAKES ITS TOLL??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | January 17, 2013 | Reply

  2. We do care Taras, and dont take on this despicable governments made up labels to promote their own hidden agendas, they are using these names to incite unrest so they can put through more ridiculous cost cutting policies. Dont own the spin doctors harmful abusive names, the majority can see though their harmful schemes.
    l am in my last few months of social work training following a long career in social work with ALD. Many of those people l have worked with feel the same and its often the system we allow ourselves to be confined by that impacts hardest. We, as social workers should be more impassioned to massage the system more openly and shouting louder. Carers save the system not only in financial terms but also from a life where everyone looks out for themselves. I have huge admiration for what carers do – l also care for my 90yr old Nan with dementia so have some understanding.
    So just to say there are many of us out there listening and caring, but feeling the frustrations of the raw deal you are dealt. My dissertation l am currently working on, which led to this site is about carers and the effects in just one aspect of caring as l wanted to evidence the impact of caring.
    We are here to talk x
    DB

    Comment by DB | January 18, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you DB,its not only nice but heartning to read a comment of such feeling and depth. If only our politcians would take such care before forming policy and speaking.
      I will pray for you that your disertattion would go well.

      Comment by Taras Kurylak | January 19, 2013 | Reply

      • Thank you so much for your comments and anytime you want to vent
        DB x

        Comment by DB | January 27, 2013

  3. Hi Taras, and thanks DB. I know it’s incredibly frustrating and it feels like its never ending. We’ll keep telling the Government that what they’re doing is having a terrible impact on some carers.
    Moira

    Comment by Moira | January 19, 2013 | Reply


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