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Carers UK responds to Sir Keir Starmer’s appointment as Prime Minister

by Kirsty Kirsty

Sir Keir Starmer has today (5th July 2024) been declared the new Prime Minister following yesterday’s General Election results. 

Helen Walker Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“We would like to congratulate Sir Keir Starmer, the Prime Minister, in leading the new Government. We recognise that there will be a lot that the new Government want to tackle, and we’ve been encouraged by strong statements about building a National Care Service, supporting families who provide unpaid care, looking at the merits of paid Carer’s Leave and tackling the scandal of overpayments of Carer’s Allowance. 

“The new Government has an opportunity to make a real and lasting difference for carers, by making them a priority.  They are having to provide more care as a result of long NHS waiting lists, cuts and shortages in social care and an outdated and antiquated benefits system that leaves carers in debt to the Department for Work and Pensions.   A staggering 600 carers a day give up work to care. 

“Over a quarter (27%) of unpaid carers say that their mental health is bad or very bad, and nearly three quarters (73%) of these are continuing to provide care even though they feel at breaking point. We need the new Government to take swift and decisive action recognising the vital role unpaid carers play in supporting the UK’s overstretched and under-resourced health and care system by delivering a National Carers Strategy early in Government, personally led, by and endorsed, by the Prime Minister. 

“The care unpaid carers provide is worth £162 billion per year to the economy, the equivalent of a second NHS, but many feel unsupported and forgotten. With 78% of carers worried about being able to provide care in the future, this needs urgent attention, otherwise the Treasury will be bearing greater costs in the longer term. 

“The last National Carers Strategy was in 2008.  Sixteen years on we need to see this kind of positive cross-Government action again. There is huge support for this. The All-Party Parliamentary Group of Carers’ consultation returned 5,000 responses around a National Carers Strategy – which is equivalent to a Government consultation response. 

“We hope the new Government and the Prime Minister will seize this important opportunity to do more for unpaid carers, making their lives better and those they care for.  We are counting on him to lead the development of a new National Carers Strategy, which delivers tangible progress and additional provision for carers, their families and those they care for.”

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