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4 out of 5 carers fear social care cuts
More than 80% of unpaid carers are worried about cuts to services, according to new research for Carers Week 2011 (13-19 June). Almost half don’t know how they will cope as the axe falls on some of the vital support they rely on.
The cuts to services compound the financial sacrifice people make when they start looking after someone who is ill, frail or disabled. Three quarters of those surveyed say they are worse off financially since taking on their caring responsibilities.
Jules Wood cares for her son. She said, 'I am now hugely in debt, my savings have gone, I cannot pay essential bills like gas and electric, I cannot meet my full mortgage payments. Today I would have walked off a bridge if it weren't for my children.'
Another carer said, 'I cannot work and this means my home is at risk of repossession. The person I care for will also be made homeless. We live in poverty.'
These are the very people who save the UK economy £119 billion each year by relieving pressure on health and social services and serving their communities.
Carers already under pressure fear service cuts
Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind, leaving two thirds of carers surprised at how little help they get from the government.
Carers Week Manager, Paul Matz, said, 'Carers are already under a huge amount of financial and emotional pressure. Some carers are forced to give up work to provide 24 hour care. Some of them hold down demanding careers, working a double life as carer and employee. Some of them are children; those who should be the cared for, having to do the caring. The threat of service cuts is only going to add to this burden.'
£1 billion worth of cuts to adult social care budgets are being shared by 98% of English councils in 2011-12. This is at the same time as £425 million worth of new services will be needed, due to the aging population.
Carer's Week - The True Face of Carers
The theme of this year’s Carers Week is ‘The True Face of Carers’. It calls for greater recognition and support for the diverse – and often unexpected – range of people who give up their money, time and health to look after somebody else.
Actress Dame Judi Dench cared for her husband Michael who had lung cancer. He died in January 2001. She said, 'As someone with experience of caring for a loved one, I am happy to offer my support to Carers Week. 3 in 5 people will be an unpaid carer at some point in their lives and many of them sacrifice everything to save our economy £119 billion every year. It’s time to give them something back.'
Along with Dame Judi Dench, other celebrities supporting this campaign include: Sir David Jason, Jack Charlton, Martin Lewis and Angela Rippon. They all have experience of caring.
Find your local Carers Week event
Carers Week 2011 has more than 8,000 events and activities taking place across the country to ensure that all carers know they are not alone: