The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to “give carers a break”, by giving councils immediate emergency funding so they can provide the support services unpaid carers need to take a weekly break.
More than 27 thousand people in South Gloucestershire are looking after elderly, disabled or vulnerable people during the Covid pandemic.
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, Ed Davey highlights research from Carers UK showing that nationally:
64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic,
74% feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during Covid, and
44% say they are reaching breaking point.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Chancellor to provide local authorities with emergency funding in his Budget on 3rd March at the latest.
Launching the campaign, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
“Our wonderful carers deserve more support, but they are too often forgotten and ignored by people in power.
“The Chancellor mustn’t ignore carers any longer. He must provide local councils with emergency funding now, to finally give carers a break.
“Liberal Democrats are working to build a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic.”
Councillor Ben Nutland, South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats’ Spokesperson for Adult Social Care added:
“People in South Gloucestershire looking after their loved ones are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances.
“South Gloucestershire’s unpaid carers have taken on dramatically increased caring responsibilities during this pandemic. Most haven’t been able to take a single break since the pandemic started. Most are simply exhausted.
“Liberal Democrats are standing up for carers and calling on the Government to give them a break.”
According to the 2011 census, 27 thousand people in South Gloucestershire provide unpaid care – although the number is now thought to be much higher. The local 2011 census data is available from the Office for National Statistics at www.nomisweb.co.uk.
The Carers UK report ‘Caring behind closed doors: six months on’ is available here.
Full text of Ed Davey’s letter to Rishi Sunak:
I am writing to urge you to give carers a break by providing immediate emergency funding to local authorities so they can offer every unpaid carer the support services they need to take a weekly break.
During this pandemic, millions of people have stepped up heroically to look after elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. They are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances.
A recent survey by Carers UK found that 81% of carers are spending more time on their caring responsibilities during the pandemic, mainly because the needs of the person they are caring for have increased or because the local care services they rely on have been reduced or closed.
But now most carers are simply exhausted. Most haven’t had a single break since the pandemic started.
The brutal combination of lockdowns, shielding requirements and reduced support services have made the pandemic especially tough. The survey by Carers UK found that 64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic. 74% said they feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during Covid, and 44% said they are reaching breaking point.
It is essential that services such as day centres can reopen Covid-safe now, so that carers can finally take a break while the people they care for get the support they need. With local authority budgets so badly overstretched, the Government must provide immediate funding to make this possible – as part of a bigger emergency package to fill the funding gap in adult and children’s social care.
I urge you to give local authorities the funding they need now – or in your March Budget at the latest.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Edit: Attribution of the quotes from the South Glos Party was corrected on 23rd March 2021
Image Credit: David Banes