Carers make an extremely valuable contribution, spending a significant proportion of their lives providing support to family members, friends and neighbours. Carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles.
A new cross-Government National Carers Strategy is being introduced to look at what more can be done to support existing and future carers. After a lengthy consultation with carers themselves, the Government recently announced a two-year programme of support for carers. This includes support for young carers, effective action to help carers balancing their caring and employment responsibilities and ensuring that health and social care services are responsive to their needs.
Moreover, in the NHS Long Term Plan, published following the announcement of a £33.9 billion cash increase to annual NHS funding by 2023/24, commits to improving the ways in which unpaid carers are identified, in order to strengthen support for them.
In the meantime, the Government is continuing to support the implementation of improved rights for carers, enshrined in the Care Act 2014. It is good news that benefits to support vulnerable and disabled people, including Carer's Allowance, are exempt from the freeze on working-age benefits.
The Government will publish a Green Paper on Social care at the nearest opportunity. This paper will complement the new carers' strategy and address how to place carers at the heart of discussions to build a long term, sustainable settlement for social care, and it will include a clear strategic focus on unpaid care how our society can support all carers in their valuable efforts.
In the meantime, the Department of Health and Social Care will continue to lead a programme of targeted work to support carers, including young and unpaid.
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