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Guest column: ‘Carers save taxpayers billions – they deserve more from government’

Carers Bucks chief exec Stephen Archibald

Carers Bucks chief exec Stephen Archibald

  • by Stephen Archibald, chief executive of Carers Bucks
 

All carers have something in common, other than the invaluable help they give to their loved one.

This is the contribution they make to society.

Estimates by Carers UK show that unpaid carers save the country £119 billion a year.

By this measure carers’ contribution now out strips the total cost of the NHS (£98.8 billion).

Yet recent reforms to the welfare system have failed to recognise carers 24 hours a day,

seven days a week contribution, or given some of these savings back.

Carer’s Allowance is a means tested benefit of £61.35 a week, currently not available to those claiming a basic state pension.

Even for those who can claim, it is reduced if they receive an unrelated benefit or earn more than £100 per week.

Surely it is time to reassess this both in terms of the level of Carer’s Allowance and those who should get it.

Being a carer affects every aspect of your life and many carers make personal sacrifices to care.

Caring can also have a huge impact on income and involve significant costs.

The Government should recognise this and make Carer’s Allowance a universal right for all adult carers.

Now let me tell you a little bit about Carers Bucks.

Under our new contract with Buckinghamshire County Council we are the place all carers in the county can go to for help and advice.

We support carers of all ages from six upwards and from all communities.

Help is tailored to the specific needs of each carer we support.

By 2017 we plan to double the number of carers we support to over 12,000 of the 49,000 adult carers in Buckinghamshire.

There are over 49,000 adult and 2,000 young carers in the county (2011 census) This number is increasing as the population ages and the number of people living with frailty and illness including long term conditions increases e.g. dementia, diabetes, stroke, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

For information log onto carersbucks.org, 0300 777 2722 (calls charged at local rate) 
or email mail@carersbucks.org

 

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