Carers UK today called on employers and the state to sign up to a ‘social contract’ to support carers to help stave off a “tipping point” when families will no longer be able to provide sufficient care for older people.
In a report coinciding with today’s government summit on the future funding of care, the charity said any reforms had to take into account the needs of informal carers, many of whom were facing significant health problems, isolation and financial hardship as a result of their caring role.
It quoted 2008 research for the Department of Health that suggested that by 2017, older disabled people’s demand for care from their children would outstrip supply and that the “care gap” would widen after that.
The charity called for the following reforms:-
- A nationally determined entitlement to care and support which recognises the contributions of families and carers.
- A transparent and fair care funding system.
- Flexibility and support from employers to help families juggle work and care.
- A tax and benefits system that prevents financial hardship for carers, recognises their contribution to care and gives them flexibility to juggle work and care.
- Communities which better understand the impact of caring, disability and age on people’s lives and public services that enhance family life.
Caresr UK will be publishing a manifesto shortly that will aim to show how the political parties can deliver on the proposed social contract.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have confirmed that they will not be attending today’s summit on the future funding of care, called by health secretary Andy Burnham, and maintained their “death tax” campaign against the government.
Though ministers have merely refused to rule out introducing a compulsory care levy on older people or their estates after death, the Tories persisted in attacking the idea, saying it would “all but kill informal care” as families providing care for loved-ones would still have to pay any levy.