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Councils charging for support puts carers’ wellbeing at risk

From time to time, every carer needs support to help them look after the person they are caring for.

Sometimes that will mean getting equipment installed in their home so that they can meet the needs of the person they support. Other times it might mean calling in home help so that they can keep up with their housework.

The importance of these services cannot be overstated. They mean that carers can provide the best support possible to their friend or family member whilst maintaining their own health.

ChargingCarersThat is why Carers Trust was so alarmed to hear that a number of councils have started charging carers who access these support services. We don’t believe any carer should have to pay for the services that enable them to care for someone who is in need.

In July we launched an investigation to find out how many councils are charging carers and how many other councils might be considering introducing charges in the near future.

Our findings, presented in a brand new report published today, offer a mixed bag.

On the one hand we were pleased to discover that only 8 councils of the 147 we contacted are currently charging carers. It just goes to show that the majority of councils recognise the vital role that unpaid carers perform and the potentially damaging impact that charging carers could have on their wellbeing and on their ability to carry-on caring.

However, we were concerned to discover that 23 councils will be debating the introduction of charges in the next 12 months.

Thankfully, we still have time to convince these councils – and others – not to introduce charges.

Carers Trust will be contacting each of the 23 councils and explaining exactly why we think charging carers is such a bad idea.

Firstly, and fundamentally, we think charging is wrong in principle. We believe the role and importance of unpaid carers needs to be celebrated and they should be given more, not less support.

Secondly, charging puts carers at financial risk. We know that carers are already more likely than average to face financial difficulties. Expecting cares to pay for essential support services will only increase those pressures.

Finally, charging risks discouraging carers from accessing the support they need, meaning they may be less able to continue caring. This country’s social care system relies on the UK’s 7 million unpaid carers. If carers are put off applying for the support they need to continue caring, they are more likely to become physically or mentally unwell, or less able to continue caring in the long term. This means more people in need will have to depend on our stretched health and social care services.

With councils just starting the process of deciding on their budgets for the coming year, we believe now is the perfect opportunity to get in and make the case for supporting carers.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of our campaign but in the meantime if you have any questions about charging or how you can support us in preventing councils from charging carers, do contact us on mhawkins@carers.org.


Matt Hawkins is Policy and Campaigns Officer at Carers Trust


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September 16, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

3 Comments »

  1. I have been a CARER for my disabled wife for 28 years and reading this only confirms my worst fears. Disabled people and carers are treated as a labour force without wages or adequate support. In other words if you have money and can pay for help your ok
    IF NOT THEN SHUT UP AND GO AWAY

    THIS ONCE CARING AND CONSIDERATE NATION HAS NOW BECOME HARD HEARTED AND UNCARING only power position and money matter.

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | September 16, 2015 | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on 61chrissterry and commented:
    It is good that Carers Trust are looking after the interests of unpaid carers and doing what they can to stop a minority of councils trying to increase their funding by charging carers. This was not the intension of the Care Act. These councils should immediately stop this practice of making these unjustified charges to persons who are already saving the councils money by providing many unpaid care hours. If these carers did not provide this unpaid care the councils would have to provide even more care than they do at present.

    Comment by 61chrissterry | September 16, 2015 | Reply

  3. Thank you for your tireless campaining on behalf of carers and their loved ones, and ironically, on behalf on the very councils that are causing this unnecessary stress. I was a carer in Nottingham for my mother with early-onset dementia. Because she was under 65, she did receive some funding and I was able to access some support, without which I would not have been able to care for her for as long as I did. But I did have to give up work to care for her. There needs to be more support for carers, and for the cared-for to remain in their own homes. There would be long-term benefits for the NHS and all of society if this were the case. I have had a book published this Summer about this and all the other isues encountered on this caring journey: “Lost Down Memory Lane – Caring For Alzheimer’s – A Personal Journey” by Dawn Fanshawe. Available from the author on ebay, or from WestBow Press Publishers.

    Comment by dawnfanshawe | October 25, 2015 | Reply


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