Simplyhealth comments on Government response to cross-party MPs’ recommendations on support for carers
The Government yesterday published its reply to the House of Commons’ Work & Pensions Select Committee’s report on employment support for carers.
We welcome the Government’s recognition of the difficulties unpaid carers face when trying to balance work with their caring responsibilities. But whilst the question of how they can be offered the holistic and targeted support they need is complex, given the indispensable nature of the care they provide, there is clearly a strong business, economic and social imperative to get this right.
The Government has identified the need to increase the status of carers, sharing its vision for them to receive the same recognition in the workforce as parents. However, for any attempt to raise awareness of the challenges facing working carers to initiate a permanent change in workplace culture, this must be underpinned by the introduction of practical measures and working practices that can help alleviate the pressures they face on a daily basis.
Whilst the Government has confirmed its commitment to promoting flexible working and exploring the case for statutory carer’s leave, the social care Green Paper provides a key opportunity to outline further detail, offer clarity and give carers certainty by proposing a timeline for progress.
The Carers Action Plan outlined a cross-Government programme of support for carers in the short term, but the forthcoming consultation could be a chance for the Government to build on this to ensure the health, wellbeing and life opportunities of the nation’s rising number of unpaid carers are safeguarded, in and out of the workplace, as a key component of a sustainable health and social care system.
Notes to Editors
• The Government’s response to the House of Commons’ Work & Pensions Select Committee’s report on employment support for carers was published on the 31st July 2018. The recommendations put forward by the cross-party Committee were agreed unanimously.
• The Work & Pensions Select Committee launched its inquiry in December 2017 to determine what support working carers currently receive, what barriers there are to securing and remaining in employment and what further support is needed. Simplyhealth submitted written evidence to the Committee as part of its inquiry.
• Simplyhealth research has found that 66% of people believe that the Government should offer the same level of support to working carers of adults and elderly relatives as is offered to working carers of children. Simplyhealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker, September 2017. A nationally representative sample of 1,974 UK adults aged 18+.
• Carers are typically not high earners and Simplyhealth research has found that 43% have a gross household income of under £30k. Simplyhealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker, September 2017. A nationally representative sample of 1,974 UK adults aged 18+. All who have cared for someone over the past 3 months: 455.