News from the Carers Trust!

New Government, new MPs – what next for carers?

It’s fair to say that the general election result was as much of a surprise to us at Carers Trust as it was to everyone else, including the Conservative party. We were all set to fire off briefings to those brokering potential coalitions, asking them to prioritise social care, but none of that turned out to be needed.

So now we are taking stock.

The Conservative Party Manifesto promises: “Strong leadership. A clear economic plan. A brighter, more secure future”

For carers this means:

  • Integrating health and social care through the Better Care Fund.
  • Increased funding for mental health.
  • A cap on residential social care costs from April 2016 and allow deferred payments

(with thanks to my lovely colleague Matt for faithfully ploughing through each of the parties’ offerings)

Sadly, as you can see, no great commitment to ensuring social care has the funding that is needed to ensure carers and the people they care for have the quality of life they need.

However, no-one can argue with increased funding for mental health, and if we can get integration of health and social care right, well, that’s the Holy Grail. However, the Better Care Fund seems to have become more of a reducing costs fund. The better care elements seems to have been somehow overlooked. We’ll be asking for the Better Care Fund to mean just that in future.

The new Minister for Care and Support, Alistair Burt, is a long time supporter of carers and is closely involved with his local carers centre. We hope to have an advocate for carers in him to continue the work done in improving rights through the Care Act, and hopefully ensuring these become a reality through proper implementation. We welcome him to the post and look forward to working with him.

But of course an issue of huge concern is benefits. With a pledge to take a further £12bn from the welfare bill, we have to be worried.

Disabled people, older people, their families and carers deserve a life where they can pay for that they need and have the support to live their lives, not merely survive.

This week we’re writing to all MPs – new and returning – to ask them to show their support for carers and to make sure social care is funded properly. Why don’t you write to them to and tell them what carers need from the new government?

Moira Fraser is Director of Policy and Research at Carers Trust