Princess Royal Trust urges cash credits for carers

Carers should receive credits based on the amount of care they provide to help sustain them in their role, according to the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

A report, submitted by the charity as part of its response to the adult green paper, said the government’s policy document had failed to recognise the central role played by carers in supporting older and disabled people.

The report, backed by fellow charity Crossroads Care, said carers were currently penalised the more care they provided. In England, unlike some other affluent countries, the state reduces the amount of care it funds for people of a given level of need if they receive informal care.

Personal budget impact

The paper said the advent of personal budgets was making these reductions explicit as councils were putting a monetary value on the input of informal carers to determine the value of a service user’s budget.

It proposed that a proportion of the reduction should be given back to carers in the form of a personal budget to spend on services such as short breaks.

Princess Royal Trust for Carers director of policy Alex Fox said: “Although this does take some money back out of the system and puts it into the hands of carers, by doing that you would generate savings by getting people into caring roles and helping them stay in those roles longer.”

Costs and savings

The report calculated that if carers were given 10% of the value of their care as a credit, the policy would cost just over £500m a year to implement.

But it predicted that it would yield substantial savings overall from reductions in admission to residential care, given the importance of informal care in keeping people at home.

However, Fox stressed that the credits should not replace existing benefits or support services for carers, but supplement them.

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