Here’s a multi-signature letter that deserves MUCH more exposure


Before anybody accuses This Writer of being “self-servative”, let’s remember that I’m far from well-paid as a carer and I can’t expect any reward for having signed today’s letter in The Guardian.

You haven’t read it? It’s here. It runs as follows:

“Family carers are among the most responsible members of society. CarerWatch, along with others, believes suggestions made in recent leaked documents of moving carers to universal credit would result in an unfair system that gives no recognition whatsoever of the contribution carers make to society. CarerWatch believes that governments should accept their responsibility to carers. Carers deserve a livable income, a separate benefit which recognises that they are not unemployed or “passive” recipients of benefit but are making an important contribution to society.

“Those in receipt of carer’s allowance cannot be classed as being inactive. Carers are unique within the benefit system in that they have to provide a minimum of 35 hours a week care in order to qualify for carer’s allowance. Over 1.5 million carers provide more than 50 hours’ a week of care, some providing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Carer’s allowance cannot therefore be considered as being a “passive” benefit. Caring places physical and emotional demands on a carer. Unpaid caring entails carrying out the same tasks and duties considered by society to be work when carried out by paid care workers.

“Without carers’ unpaid contribution to society, this unpaid care would have to be provided by state-funded social care staff at a considerably higher cost to society. Without carers, our NHS and social care systems would collapse. The average carer is saving the nation over £15,260 a year. A full-time carer saves the nation considerably more. CarerWatch believes these proposals indicate a failure on the government’s part to recognise that caring is not passive and that carers make a valuable contribution to society (estimated to be worth £119bn a year).”

This Writer is proud to stand alongside the other signatories, who are:

Rosemary O’Neill CarerWatch, Frances Kelly, Pat Onions Pat’s Petition, Karen Machin St Helens Mental Health Carers, Pam Pinder CarersforumUK, Fiona Sinclair Autism Rights, Carole Rutherford Act Now for Autism, Ruth Lister House of Lords, Neal Lawson Chair, Compass , Norma Curran Scottish Campaign for a Fair Society and Values Into Action Scotland, Lynn Williams Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Valerie Minns Rethink Carers Lancashire, Peter J Perfitt, Simon Barrow Co-director, Ekklesia, Bernadette Meaden, Dr Simon Duffy Centre for Welfare Reform, Jonathan Bartley Work and pension spokesperson for the Green party, Mo Stewart Disability studies researcher, Linda Burnip Social Work Action Network, Gail Ward, Ian Hodson BFAWU, Jo Walker, Annie Bishop, Fiona Bruce, Rob Gershon, Nessie Kay, Kaliya Franklin, Ian Jones WOW campaign, Michelle Maher, Laura Stringhetti, Carole Ford, Jane Bence #newapproach, Wayne Blackburn, Rick Burgess, Nick Dilworth, Hazel Quinn, Sue Livitt Don’t Cut Us Out, John James McCardle, Stephen Carty Black Triangle campaign, Johnny Void, Mr and Mrs Charles Huddleston, John O’Callaghan-Williamson Director of Tcell, Alan Wheatley, Ros Bentley, John and Susan Pilling, Mrs Pat Pye, Vin West Chair, Wales Alliance for Citizen Directed Support, Bill Campbell, John McDonnell MP, Adam Lotun, Anne Novis, Susan Archibald Archibald Foundation, Maggie Bridgeman, Mehrun Dasu, Tom Shakespeare, Rosemary Trustam, Sam Sly, John Dalrymple, Laura Able, Chris Coffey St Helen’s Social Inclusion and Disability Network, Margaret Chapman, Dr Rhetta Moran Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research, Barbara Brown, Dr Julie Ridley, Joan Gauld, Sue Taylor, Chris McCahe, Patricia Burke, Pamela Burke, Paula Peters, Louise Meram Bromley Disabled People Against Cuts, and Neil White.

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15 thoughts on “Here’s a multi-signature letter that deserves MUCH more exposure

  1. casalealex

    I was main carer for my, now 95yr old, mother for five years, until she was moved from her home to a nursing home. I am still her main carer, as I keep an eye on how she is faring whilst in ‘care’.
    Every day I visited her in her own home, and helped with the usual things expected of carers.
    There are many people who rely on family members to look after them, which is, of course, only right!
    I spent at least 30 hours a week helping Mum. But, as I was, and still am, a state pensioner, I was unable to claim any Carer’s Allowance.
    There are many older people looking after their elderly parents without any financial assistance whatsoever.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Good point. Of course that doesn’t mean you begrudge those who only have Carers Allowance to support them, I take it.

      1. casalealex

        Mike, of course I do not begrudge anyone who is a carer, especially family carers! I have also worked as a carer in a care home, so I know quite a bit about how many kinds of carers are not appreciated.
        Many people who care for their families in their own home are often people with their own medical or disability problems.

  2. Clive Arnold

    Carerwatch? The internet stalkers you mean? Having had a couple of their members knowingly made false reports of benefit fraud to the DWP about me then you will have to excuse me saying ‘they can go to hell after kissing my fat ass’.

    And a someone that ran a petition where it’s likely 50% were aliases? Great example to set

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Can you prove these accusations or are you just trying to smear people who have written this letter, with the best of intentions, to highlight a real and pressing issue?

    2. paulrutherford8

      As far as I know, CarerWatch are genuine people doing a good job. I’d have signed that letter too, had I known about it! The signatures look genuine to me, and I recognise many of them.

      There is an ‘entity’ called UK Carers [@ukcarers] who have been much less than polite to me, and others, on twitter, and who I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

      Are you sure you’re not confusing them with CarerWatch, Clive? They’d fit your description like hand in glove… in *my* opinion of course.

  3. Chris

    I was told I could not put in for carer’s allowance as it would affect my elderly’s parents life award for disability benefit.

    Then when I saw the ever worsening state of getting any state pension at all, I put, in retrospect, for the National Insurance credits for elder care, only to be told that because my parents had passed over two tax years before, I could not get any credits at all.

    Social services never helped me at all with anything. Not even with incontinence supplies.

    Not being on benefit because denied from starting, after a lifetime of paying National Insurance, NI credits could not increase towards the state pension, denied by raised retirement age from 60 to 66 back from 2013 and raised requirement from 30 to 35 years NI and 35 years full SERPs record.

    Then Labour say they are not the party of those on benefit.

    97 per cent (source Dame Anne Begg, Labour)
    of all benefit is to poor pensioners and the working poor.

    Over half the over 60s (even with the state pension, payable in work or not)
    are within the working poor.

    The 11 million disabled, include over 40 per cent of the over 50s.

    Carers themselves can be over 60
    and / or disabled (benefit about to be taxed)
    and / or chronic sick (benefit taxed),
    losing those benefits and
    denied state pension payout
    (£3000 lost from basic tax allowance for those turning 65 from 2013).

    Then Universal Credit denies Pension Credit by raised retirement age of yourself or your partner, just as the flat rate state penson abolishs the savings part of Pension Credit and guarantee credit Pension Credit becomes more complex conditional next year, eventually even hitting those over 75.

    Then there is the flat rate state pension’s nil state pension for life, especially for women, by various sneaky ways to deny any food and fuel money forever in old age.
    See why at end of my petition, in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:

  4. Steve Grant

    As a carer of 17 years for my wife who was in a RTA in 1998 I have looked after her and had to slowly lose all contact with anyone I ever knew and also gradually lose my health.My wife is brain damaged and after several years has all but lost her sight but there i have been hour after hour day after day and week after week for 17 years,with no respite and forever having to justify myself to the state even though the little allowance I get is less than someone on job seekers…Indeed the allowance is so little that I am treated worse than any slave would be.Of course government wring their hands and pour out tea and sympathy in review after review which ends up as sickening support in the form of words not genuine help which means nothing at all to the average carer slowly dying inside frightened to say anything in case it is taken out on the one they love.I look after my wife because she is my wife and unlike most MPs I married and made a vow to look after my wife in “sickness and health “. ….but whereas I could have got by if I had received help over the years I find that over the last five years my efforts are being questioned as though my wife isn’t worth the effort and I should go back to work at the age of 64….?i save every government thats been and gone a small fortune to pay for their pink gins or 4 course lunches whilst I live on my wife can at least get nourishment every day I think sometimes It would be better if government turned around and said we can’t pay carers allowance anymore……at least I would know where I stood and could just pack my bags and park my wife outside the nearest care home and set off to live on the streets…ooh! I forgot the Tories are now planning to do just that if they win the next election….?Thats ok then isn’t it …..the Tories who have doubled the countries debt and are penny wise and pound foolish…would just love to impoverish me so then can spend 100 times more looking after my a privately run care hone with some snotty director who happens to be a MP taking a rake off..what a totally evil country we now live in….what was it Gordon Geko said in that film.Wall Street?…..greed is good!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Quite clearly it is government ministers, paid private sector advisors and contractor companies who are costing too much. We should be saying we can’t afford to pay them; then we could put up the rate for carers. 😉

    2. mey151

      how many others are also in this situation and are saying/ thinking the exact same thing ?

  5. A-brightfuture

    Private health care is what its all about, IMO.

    Open up more care homes, with workers on zero hours, so it looks like a fully employed country.
    People on zero hours are going to be reliant on UC.
    Universal Credit is going to be the shackles of many millions of people.

    It seems Universal Credit has got a very big agenda, much more than the JSA and ESA claimants.
    Half the bloody country is going to be reliant on having wages topped up by the state, that’s if there is going to be a “state” in 2020, and not private employment/unemployment insurance schemes, that we may all have to start paying into.

    This is how I feel its all going.
    Its not the EU
    But the United States of America/UK

    We answer to Washington.
    Seeing as Maximus and other American companies has a very good grip on British welfare.

    I maybe wrong, and this government have only our best interests at heart.

    OH look!! a purple flying pig.

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