"Today’s ONS release reveals the staggering amount of people that are propping up this country by filling the care gap caused by the social care crisis. There continues to be no significant policies in place to ease the growing strain left on the country by an ageing population. The Chancellor in the Spring Statement this week did at the least gave social care a cursory nod as he announced a three year spending review to be published alongside the next budget but we really need concrete action now.
"The data shows that a unbelievable one in four older female workers, and one in eight older male workers, have caring responsibilities alongside working thanks to people living longer meaning they are more likely to have a living parent or a grandchild. These kind of figures show that the seemingly illusory Green Paper on social care is needed now more than ever, so we can at the very least start to formulate a concrete plan for how this country can tackle this growing problem.
"This unpaid work is crucial to our economy and is estimated to save the UK an astonishing £132 billion a year, according to Carer’s UK. While we continue to wait for some clarity from the Government there are number of financial planning tips that any carer should be aware of.
"One critical piece of information that many carers are currently unaware of is Carer’s Credits. A recent FOI submitted by Quilter found that just 17,388 people were receiving carer’s credits at the end of 2018 out of around 200,000 carers who could be eligible to receive them. These credits count towards a person’s state pension entitlement and could be worth £237 a year in retirement, or £1,185 over five years.
"For carers that are still working but have had to cut back on their work to take on extra caring responsibilities, they might find they also suffer a reduced pension as they are on a lower wage and therefore not contributing so much regularly. It is the government’s duty to explore what it can do to alleviate some of the pressure on these carers and make sure that they don’t find themselves suffering poverty in retirement after providing so much worth to the economy.
"Another important point which many carers forget about is that if others are dependent on your time, then it is prudent to get a protection policy. If the worst were to happen, a policy such as life assurance or critical illness will help those reliant on you by giving a monetary pay-out which can then cover the additional costs of care. Often protection is provided as a benefit from your workplace, which is lost if someone decides to leave work to provide further care.
"Ultimately, what is needed is the cloud of Brexit to clear so that sensible social care polices can be put in place which tackle what is already amounting to a national social care crisis."