The action plan sets out a 2-year programme of work to support unpaid carers, ahead of the forthcoming social care green paper which will set out long-term sustainable solutions for the social care system.
The measures include:
- a new scheme to improve employment support for carers, promoting best practice for flexible working, to enable carers to continue to work alongside their caring role
- a new £500,000 Carer Innovations Fund to promote creative and innovative ways to support carers
- funding for a review of best practice in identification of young carers and access to support
One in 10 adults in the UK provides unpaid care for a family member or friend who cannot cope without their help because of illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.
The ageing population means that the number of people in need of care is growing fast, but many carers face barriers because they lack time and energy or because of a lack of understanding from others.
Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said:
It’s a sad fact that carers too often feel ignored, isolated or taken for granted, and given any one of us could become a carer at some point in our lives, government and society must do more to support them.
We recognise the invaluable contribution of carers, selflessly caring for those they love, and these measures will mean they are supported in all facets of their lives. Together these measures are a step-change in the way we support carers so they can gain employment, learn the skills they need to succeed and feel supported by the communities they live in.
Our review to identify young carers will ensure they don’t slip through the net, and that they receive practical and emotional support to allow them to stay healthy, happy and make the most of their education.
Ministers from the Government Equalities Office, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education have contributed to and are investing in this action plan, which they have signed up to along with the Department of Health and Social Care.
To inform this plan, the government heard views from over 6,800 people, including from individuals with first-hand experience.