There are currently six million people across the UK who provide unpaid care to someone they know – a figure that will only increase with Britain’s ageing population.
If you care for a friend or relative, or are a receiver of care yourself, you will know firsthand the true cost of caring. Carers Allowance is the lowest benefit, set at just £53.10 a week. Carers also rarely get chance to take a break from the role – over a third (31%) of long-term providers have never taken a holiday.
The government’s recent Green Paper, ‘Shaping the Future of Care Together’, is attempting to update the nation’s care system for the first time since the 1940s to create a system that fits our 21st century needs and provides long-term financial provision for those in care.
The problem of how to ‘fix’ the funding gap is addressed in the green paper. According to research by Saga – who have been advising the Government – the current postcode lottery looks particularly unpopular, with half of over 50s questioned (51%) in favour of a system that would see the government provide a set standard of care for everybody, regardless of where they live, and which could be topped up by the individual if they wish. Only one in five (21%) of those preferred an insurance policy approach, paid throughout their working lives. The alternative strategy of a one off payment at retirement or death equally lacks support (6%). The vast majority (84%) of over 50s also resoundingly agree that the current system of means testing is unfair.
Carers need to be empowered and informed to the help currently available, and what they can do to improve the quality of life – for both themselves and recipients of care. In our live and interactive webTV show you have the chance to question Phil Hope MP, Minister of State for Care Services, over some of the proposed changes and where the future for caring lies. Joining the minister will be Emma Soames, Editor-at-Large of Saga Magazine, who is at the forefront of attempts to lobby for change.
There will also be more details on the current initiatives available to UK carers, such as the Saga Respite for Carers Trust, which this year is increasing the number of people it can help.
Emma Soames, Editor-At-Large of Saga Magazine, and Phil Hope MP, Minister of State for Care Services, join us live online to answer your questions about the government’s Green Paper
For more information visit www.saga.co.uk