Adult unpaid carers feel ignored by the government

A Carers Trust survey has found that the overwhelming majority of unpaid carers believe that ‘successive governments have ignored the needs of unpaid carers for a long time’.

There is a near total sense among survey respondents of feeling abandoned by government over a long time, with 86 per cent of unpaid carers either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the sentiment.

The survey results also demonstrated how many unpaid carers are being driven into acute financial hardship because of their caring role, with inadequate financial support from successive governments widely cited by survey respondents in their written responses.

A separate poll of the UK public by research company Opinium for Carers Trust found that UK adults support the need for unpaid carers to receive more support from the government.

The poll found that four in five UK adults think that the government needs to do more to support unpaid carers and more than two thirds agreed that all unpaid carers should receive financial support from the government.

Almost half of UK adults did not agree that Carer’s Allowance is a fair level of support for an unpaid carer looking after a family member or friend for a minimum of 35 hours a week.

David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Our care system could not survive without the contribution of unpaid carers, who provide vital support for thousands of people every day. Councils fully recognise their crucial role and assess and support hundreds of thousands of carers every year but could do even more with the right resources.

“The government needs to do more to help unpaid carers who are the backbone of care and support and provide invaluable support to their loved ones. In the recent adult social care white paper, there is helpful recognition of the crucial role played by unpaid carers and a clear commitment to empower them. However, this ambition does not appear to be matched with a proportionate allocation of funding to bring about the kinds of changes needed.

“The only dedicated funding aligned to this priority is £25 million to pilot a change in the services provided to support unpaid carers. Whilst any investment is to be welcomed, this needs to be seen in the context of the estimated £111 billion of care provided by unpaid carers since the start of the pandemic. Any successes to come from these pilots should be given sustainable funding.”

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