Public believe carers’ benefits should be higher, finds survey


Most members of the public believe that carers make a valuable contribution to society and that the level of benefits they receive is far too low, according to a new survey.
The survey of more than 2,000 people across Britain by YouGov for Carers Week found that six out of seven people believe “unpaid carers” are valuable contributors to society, and three-quarters agree that the current level of carer’s allowance – £53.10 a week – is too low.
But a second survey, of more than 1,900 UK carers, found that 96 per cent of them feel their role is ignored by society, while six out of seven feel overlooked by professionals such as GPs and social workers.
Nearly three-quarters say they have “reached breaking-point”. Two in five blame frustration with bureaucracy, nearly a third say lack of sleep was to blame and more than a quarter say financial worries were a cause. More than half believe practical support would have made a difference.
Of those surveyed, 64 per cent provide more than 50 hours of care a week.
Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, one of the 10 charities that organised Carers Week, said: “We need an urgent improvement in benefits and better investment in care if we are to stop carers being treated so badly by the system.”
Meanwhile, the National Autistic Society marked Carers Week with a survey of more than 300 carers of people with autism.
More than a third of those who took part say they don’t understand the benefits system, and 83 per cent say they provide more than 50 hours of care a week, with two-thirds providing more than 70 hours.
The charity called for better information for carers, an increase in the level of carer’s allowance, and for all carers to receive the carer’s assessment they are legally entitled to from social services.


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