News

+ The Future of Carers Allowance

January 10th, 2011

Carer Watch call upon the Coalition Government,to recognise the ESSENTIAL role that Carers play in the running of our society and to make a statement regarding the future of Carers Allowance 

So what lies ahead for family carers?  Families providing care are a necessity and as the number of elderly increases and medicine breakthroughs continue, many people with illnesses will live longer…and the country will rely even more on the foundation that family carers provide.  Carers are a group of people who provide a vital service, yet governments past and present have taken them for granted, have taken their Love for granted.

We cannot, and must not, allow this to continue

2010 witnessed failure after failure by the Coalition government to address the needs of carers. Before the election carer issues were high on the agenda and even included in TV Party Leader debates, but as soon as the election was over carers once again became invisible. For far too long the issue of Carers Benefits has been swept under the carpet, put on the back burner by past and present governments. Now we are facing a climate of severe cuts with all the implications for the Local Authorities.

But the greatest threat to carers comes from the reform of the benefit system. Will carers be protected or lost in the drive to cut back welfare. Now we have the proposal of a Universal Credit . The Coalition as yet has given no concrete details as to their intentions regarding carers’ benefits. Carer Watch have great concerns that Carers Allowance could be targeted as a benefit to be subsumed in the UC.

Research in to the history of the carers’ movement shows us the battles undertaken by many women and their supporters to gain full recognition and identity for carers. Carer Watch believe that the Coalition must keep carers benefits separate from the main system.  We feel that any move by government to transfer carers to a Universal credit will take the carers movement back decades.

We need to raise our voices now and make them aware of our feelings and our anger that they are not addressing these issues with great urgency.

Therefore, Carer Watch call upon the Coalition Government, to recognise the ESSENTIAL role that Carers play in the running of our society and to make a statement regarding the future of Carers Allowance.

click on comments below and add your support.

 

 

+ Alison Garnham – Chief Executive CPAG

January 25th, 2011

 Child Poverty Action Group supports the call that Carer Watch are making for a clear statement of intent from government that recognises the economic hardship that so many carers and their families face. Because carers have limited access to paid employment, there is a higher risk that children who have a parent who is a carer will be brought up below the poverty line. To help meet the Government’s target to end child poverty, it is essential that the current lack of income adequacy for many carers is addressed and we hope to see this as an element of the Government’s child poverty strategy.

Best wishes

Alison Garnham

 

+ Fran Bennett, University of Oxford

January 25th, 2011

 

I would very much support your call for maintaining, extending and improving carer’s allowance in terms of providing an independent income for those who are caring that does not depend on a partner’s actions or income because it is non-means-tested.

I was involved recently in some qualitative research which involved interviews with men and women separately in low to moderate income couples and we came across several examples where carer’s allowance was very important to women in particular and seemed to give them some room for manoeuvre within the household which they might not have had otherwise …

best wishes
Fran Bennett, University of Oxford

 

+ Tyneside Claimants Union

January 25th, 2011

Tyneside Claimants Union  fully supports your campaign to retain Carers Allowance, and to recieve clarification about the government’s plans. Carers Allowance represents financial recognition (however inadequately) of the vital, difficult, work that carers do. The affect of benefit cuts and cuts to council services on carers, disabled people, and other benefits claimants is going have immense human cost.

 

+ West Norfolk Women and Carers’ Pensions Network

January 22nd, 2011

West Norfolk Women and Carers’ Pensions Network calls for a Fair Deal for Carers from the Coalition Government

 

Carers put their own relationships and careers on hold – sometimes for ever.

  1. Caring impacts on carers’ ability to earn, save, build up their own pension, maintain friendship networks and socialise. 
  2. Carers suffer worse physical and emotional health than non-carers.
  3. Though equality becomes a shimmering veneer when you have to care for someone, the carer’s role is fundamental to another human being’s wellbeing, quality of life, and very survival.

The Coalition’s planned cuts to public services will affect single women of working age and single women pensioners most of all. ( Women’s Budget Group and Howard Reed  http://www.womensincomenetwork.org/Women%20and%20Income.htm

 

  1. Most carers are women. When the services they rely on as carers are cut or withdrawn they will be faced with Hobson’s choice – provide the care themselves although it means reducing their own paid work, or make up the shortfall for the lost service out of their own pocket. Either way, women will lose out.
  2. If Government fails to protect carers from the nuclear fallout of the more stringent Personal Capability Assessment when a disability benefit is withdrawn but the need for caring remains, women will lose out again.

The right direction for Welfare Reform is to safeguard the public services that carers, disabled and elderly people depend on, strengthen Carers Allowance with more flexibility and qualifying criteria on the basis of care needed and supplied, whether or not the cared for is in receipt of DLA or AA, and to raise the amount of Carers Allowance to give dignity and sufficient income to carers in consideration of their vital contribution to society.

 

Alexandra Kemp
Chief Executive
West Norfolk Women and Carers’ Pensions Network

 

+ Dr Debora Price, Institute of Gerontology, King’s College London

January 21st, 2011

In this time of cuts in social care spending across local authorities country wide, your campaign to maintain and support disability and carers allowances is of the utmost importance.

What kind of society do we want to live in? Even in the face of dramatic austerity measures, we should be seeking to uphold the autonomy and independence of carers, as well as recognise their vital contributions to family, society and the nation.

Dr Debora Price,

Institute of Gerontology, King’s College London.

 

+ Hampshire LRC – Demanding Justice for Carers

January 17th, 2011

Hampshire LRC  fully support Carer Watch’s campaign to end carer poverty and think it is totally unacceptable that carers, who play such a vital role in our communities, are not supported adequately, either within the care system or financially.

Hampshire LRC will do all that they can to support the call by Carer Watch to demand that the coalition government makes clear its intentions for the Carers Allowance, and if it is going to be incorporated into the proposed Universal Credit system.

We believe the government should undertake an immediate review of carers benefits and raise those benefits to a living wage. We also believe that provisions should be put in place for local authorities to provide adequate access to support, should carers need a break or help to carry out their job.

With an ageing population it is even more vital that the government reviews this situation as soon as possible:  an increasing number of working people are going to be forced into poverty in order to care for loved ones – the government must act now.

Hampshire LRC urges individuals and organisations through-out our
communities to support Carer Watch’s demands and to offer words of support by emailing them (admin@carerwatch.com )  or visiting their website. Please consider doing all that you can to raise awareness by writing to your MP, local councillors and bytelling your friends about this issue. To find out more about Carer Watch, visit their website and download their briefing.

Sarah Evans
Chair
Hampshire Labour Representation Committee

 

+ Emeritus Prof Ruth Lister

January 12th, 2011

Carers allowance plays a crucial role. Not only should it be protected as a universal non means-tested benefit, it should also be raised to the level of contributory benefits. I fully support Carer Watch’s call that it should not be subsumed within the proposed universal credit. The UC is bad news for women on a number of scores and to subsume Carers Allowance within it would be even worse news.

 

+ Dot Gibson – National Pensioners Convention

January 10th, 2011

The National Pensioners Convention is in full support of your demand for the Government to make clear its intentions towards the future of the Carer’s Allowance.

As you know, our main concern has been for those carers of pensionable age who are currently denied a carer’s allowance, because they also get a state pension. At the very time when as an older carer you need more financial support, the system takes it away. That has got to stop.

Many of those politicians who call for cuts to the welfare state – of which the carer’s allowance is obviously a part – seem to forget the tremendous contribution that people are making to society by providing unpaid care services every day of the year. Without this army of unpaid carers, the country would have to find billions of pounds to fund social care. It is therefore time that unpaid carers received the proper recognition and support that they deserve.

Good luck to your campaign.

Dot Gibson
General Secretary
National Pensioners Convention

 

+ Hampshire Labour Representation Committee

January 10th, 2011

I just thought I’d send you a copy of our latest update, which includes information about Carer Watch, in the News section at the beginning. I’ll put this on the agenda for our meeting this week and get a message of support to you soon.

All the best,
Sarah

Sarah Evans
Chair
Hampshire Labour Representation Committee

 

+ Mark Shrimpton – personal capacity

January 10th, 2011

As a carer of someone with a life limiting illness, I strongly support Carer Watch’s position and thoroughly endorse the content of this note.  Amidst a tsunami of cuts, we need absolute clarity about the future of the Carers Allowance – its independent existence and the values by which it will be raised year on year.

Regards

Mark