Coronavirus: Unpaid carers are working harder but ‘completely ignored’ by government

Care: the Tories don’t.

Family members who provide care for loved ones with only Carers’ Allowance as financial support are claiming that the coronavirus has “overwhelmed” them but the government is ignoring them.

It’s absolutely no surprise to This Writer. I gave up my claim for Carers Allowance last year, after my income from Vox Political finally exceeded the amount you’re allowed to earn per week (which isn’t much at all).

How anyone can survive on £67.25 a week alone is beyond me.

For myself, the stress of being a carer and writing a website every day is huge, but the fact is that I make just about enough money to cushion the worst effects.

That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how hard it is on my fellow carers (because remember, I haven’t given up minding Mrs Mike). So it’s heartbreaking to read the following:

New research published today by Carers UK reveals how 70% of unpaid carers in the UK are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The survey of nearly 5,000 unpaid carers showed that, on average, carers are picking up an additional 10 hours of unpaid care per week.

A third of these (35%) are having to provide more hours of care because their local care and support services have been reduced or closed.

More than half (55%) told Carers UK that they feel overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities during the outbreak and are worried about burning out in the coming weeks.

The survey also found that 87% of family carers are worried about what will happen to the people they care for if they have to self-isolate or become ill.

The research shows 81% of carers are having to spend more money during the outbreak. The top increases in expenditure include spending more on food (72%) – due to lack of supermarket delivery slots and need for specialist food – and household bills (50%).

Worryingly, 1 in 10 claim to be spending more on equipment for the person they care for.

It’s very expensive indeed – in terms of finance and personal, emotional energy.

Carers UK is urging the Tory government to increase Carer’s Allowance, to recognise the crucial role people are playing in the country’s fight back against coronavirus – but I don’t think anything will come of it.

The Tories know they’re onto a good thing – 6.5 million people providing billions of pounds worth of care services for less than the minimum wage because they are doing it for family members.

You could say it’s the worst kind of emotional blackmail. There’s no social care service, and you can be sure that there won’t be in the future – the Tories will plead that the cost of getting the economy back up and running is prohibitive. So they – we – feel constained to do it ourselves.

Think of that when the Tories say they’re doing everything they can.

Source: Unpaid family carers ‘feel completely ignored’ by Government amid the Coronavirus pandemic – Welfare Weekly

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One Comment

  1. Chris Sterry commenting April 25, 2020 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Like yourself, I too am unable to receive Carers Allowance, not because of the size of my income, but because I am in receipt of my pension. Many people , including some Social Workers are unaware that you can not receive Carers Allowance when on pension.

    This is because Carers Allowance is not a benefit to pay for caring, which many believe it is, but an allowance to compensate for loss of income while caring and when on pension there will be no loss of income.

    But, of course the amount of Carers Allowance in no way compensates for any loss of income, unless you are employed by an employer who is breaking the law, as you would have to be in receipt of a salary, of less than the National Living Wage, which is illegal.

    As per this Government and most of the previous Government, if not all, are wishing for social care to be provided on the cheap, be it unpaid care by family or paid care from care staff from a Care Service Providers or by Direct Payment should the person in need of care be an Individual Employer in receipt of Direct Payment from their Local Authority, or a Personal Health Budget if funded through Continuing Health Care (CHC) and they are using these to paid their own carers.

    It is viewed that Family Carers are saving the Government in excess of £130 billion a year, so what would happen if all family carers went on strike for more Carers Allowance. Of course, this will never occur as the family would never leave their family member in need of care, without care.

    But, as I was thinking last year, to call a virtual strike where all family carers sign up to, would the Government listen, but, I do doubt it has this Government has ‘deaf ears’ when it comes to care, especially social care.

    So is there anything we can do to make the Government ‘see the light’ and accept their responsibilities to social care and not leave it to Goodwill, or will they create another badge.

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