I recognise the valuable contribution made by carers of all kinds - residential, domiciliary, paid, unpaid - many of whom spend a significant proportion of their life providing support to family members, friends and neighbours.
I completely agree that carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles. A tenth of adults in the UK provide unpaid care for a friend or family member, and these people should be supported in the invaluable work they do.
The Government is continuing to support the implementation of improved rights for carers, enshrined in the Care Act 2014. Carers can receive support through the Carer Element in Universal Credit and through Pension Credit and Carer's Allowance has been increased to £69.70 per week. Over the last twelve years successive changes will have provided an additional £800 a year for carers.
The Government’s Social Care White Paper outlined a number of measures to support carers including up to £25 million to kick start a change in the services provided to support unpaid carers. The Carer’s Leave Act has also been introduced to give unpaid carers the right to take unpaid leave from work to care for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives.
Local authorities are also required to undertake a Carer's Assessment for carers who require support. This may include recording a career's needs and the impact of providing care. Local authorities have a legal duty to meet a carer's needs if these are assessed as being eligible for support.
Going forward, NHS England at a national level and Integrated Care Boards at a local level will have a duty to involve carers when care is being commissioned for their loved one. The Department for Education will be amending the School Census to include young carers. In 2023/24, £327 million of Better Care Fund funding has been earmarked to provide short breaks and respite services for carers, as well as additional advice and support.
The Government understands that people are worried about the cost-of-living challenges ahead and has announced further support for the next financial year designed to target the most vulnerable households. This cost of living support is worth £26 billion in 2023/24, in addition to benefits uprating, which is worth £11 billion to working age households and people with disabilities. This support for 2023/24, is on top of the £37 billion of support for the cost of living already in place to support households in 2022/23, in addition to the Energy Price Guarantee.