Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care, blogs about the importance of supporting carers in Islington.
In the UK, there are currently 6.5 million people who provide unpaid care for older, disabled and seriously ill relatives and friends. In Islington that amounts to thousands. This means that our care service is heavily dependent on unpaid care that ordinary people, like you and me, provide every day to their family and friends.
Currently, the Government supports unpaid carers, through a Carer’s allowance, which is £62 per week and payable only to those unpaid carers on low incomes who work 35 hours per week. But imagine how tough it is, if your salary is low and you have full time caring responsibilities - the emotional and physical strain is immense.
I am proud that Islington has a package of offer that means more for unpaid carers. For example, we offer a Direct Payment scheme of up to £30 a week for leisure, social, training and or other activities to help improve the wellbeing and quality of life of carers themselves, which is vitally important in helping them to carry out their role. There is also a Flexible Breaks Fund, which unpaid carers can bid in for to help them with much-needed respite. The aim is to ease the pressure of unpaid caring.
We commission the Islington Carers Hub run by Age UK which provides a range of support to adult carers and the Young Carers service by Family Action, which provides support to young carers.
Every day Islington Labour is looking for new ideas and innovative ways to help those who care for others voluntarily. The Labour Party recently announced it will raise Carer’s allowance to £73 per week, funded by reversing the Government’s planned inheritance tax cut for the wealthiest, to recognise the contribution of Britain’s unpaid carers.
I welcome this policy announcement and wait to hear if other Parties are also giving carers the priority they need.
If you think you might be entitled to any form of carer’s support, please get in touch with the Islington Carer’s Hub at 020 7561 5517 or visit https://www.islington.gov.uk/social-care-health/carers for more information
Pictured - Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care