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.
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