I am writing to urge you to give carers a break by providing immediate emergency funding to local authorities so they can offer every unpaid carer the support services they need to take a weekly break.
During this pandemic, millions of people have stepped up heroically to look after elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. They are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances.
A recent survey by Carers UK found that 81 per cent of carers are spending more time on their caring responsibilities during the pandemic, mainly because the needs of the person they are caring for have increased or because the local care services they rely on have been reduced or closed.
But now most carers are simply exhausted. Most haven’t had a single break since the pandemic started.
The brutal combination of lockdowns, shielding requirements and reduced support services have made the pandemic especially tough. The survey by Carers UK found that 64 per cent of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic. Seventy-four per cent said they feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 44 per cent said they are reaching breaking point.
It is essential that services such as day centres can reopen Covid-safe now, so that carers can finally take a break while the people they care for get the support they need. With local authority budgets so badly overstretched, the government must provide immediate funding to make this possible – as part of a bigger emergency package to fill the funding gap in adult and children’s social care.
I urge you to give local authorities the funding they need now – or in your March Budget at the latest.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
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