IPPR: Give carers individual budgets to overcome ‘care crunch’

The Institute for Public Policy Research has called for carers to receive individual budgets to overcome pressures caused by means-testing and rising eligibility criteria for social care.

The combination of rising demand for care and ever-tightening eligibility criteria for council funding is resulting in a ‘care crunch’ that will affect 1.5 million people, the IPPR said in a report published yesterday.

The shortfall will result in “fewer families getting support from their council, and more families struggling to balance care with paid work”.

The report, entitled Care Crunch, calls for individual budgets to be extended to carers to give them “more control over the support they need to meet the cost of care”.

Revised carers strategy

It comes days before the expected publication of the government’s revised national carers strategy, due out next week.

The IPPR suggested that the “carer’s budget” could be drawn from existing funding streams, such as the carer’s grant paid to councils and existing direct payments for carers.

The think-tank said the budget should be prioritised for those on low incomes – less than £16,000 a year – who provided “regular and substantial” care, of which there were over 220,000 people last year.

If paid at £5,000 a year, it would cost £1.1bn, and enable carers to purchase a range of services, such as shopping, cleaning or transport, to help them carry out their role.

At the last census, 5.2m people gave some amount of care in England and Wales, with just over a million providing care for 50 or more hours a week.

More information

Institute for Public Policy Research

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