Government “non-response” on support for working carers

Earlier this year, Carers Support Centre provided evidence to The Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into the employment support that unpaid carers receive. The committee produced its recommendations on Support for carers and the Government has just published its response to these.

The Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Rt Hon Frank Field MP,  expresses their deep disappointment with the Government’s response to its recommendations, saying the Government “rejected the mildest of recommended changes with limited argument to support those decisions. All our recommendations were agreed in the spirit of wishing to improve the lives of millions of carers, not to criticise the Department. We would therefore expect the Department to engage openly and constructively with our work and to recognise our report—with recommendations based on a wealth of evidence—as a valuable policy tool to drive progress. In turn, we would expect the Government’s response to set out the reasons for rejecting any recommendations in a detailed and considered way.”

Carers Support Centre provided written evidence to the inquiry and also took part in a witness panel. The Committee’s inquiry received 64 written evidence submissions, including our own. The report and accompanying press release outlining the recommendations are here: Benefits cliff edge for carers means work doesn’t pay

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, said: “The Government has scored a first: one could be forgiven for thinking it was replying to a totally different report, rather than the well-researched and unanimously agreed recommendations published by the Select Committee on support for carers. There is barely any contact between the evidence and recommendations we published, and the Government’s non-response. It has barely paid lip service to an issue that is central to the lives of millions of people. I am sure it can do better for this country’s heroic and undervalued carers as well as their families. So we have taken the unusual step of inviting Government to go away and try again.”

Keith Sinclair, CEO commented that; “Locally we continue to work with employers to ensure that carers are identified in the workplace and supported in order to balance their employment with their caring roles. This [Government response] is all the more surprising given that Employment and Financial wellbeing are one of the priority areas of the recently published Carers Action Plan.”