Thank you for contacting me about support for unpaid carers during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
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 totally 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.
I know that the Government is committed to supporting the 5.4 million unpaid carers over the winter months. Funding has recently been extended to Carers UK’s support phone line until March 2021 to cover the winter period, and the Department for Health and Social Care is also providing free flu vaccines for unpaid carers. In addition, the Department for Education has launched the ‘See, Hear, Respond’ service in partnership with Barnardo’s to support young carers through this challenging time. I am assured that cross-departmental work is ongoing to scope further support options for young carers.
Existing support will remain available including the Carer’s Allowance, as well as via NHS volunteers who can provide support by going shopping or collecting prescriptions. Ministers have committed to regularly updating and bolstering the online guidance for unpaid carers, and I will continue to monitor progress in this area closely.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP