Government’s Response to Carers Open Letter
The MND Association has received a response to its open letter to the UK and Welsh Governments concerning unpaid carers. While the Welsh Government has provided some tangible proposals to better support unpaid carers in their jurisdiction, the Association is disappointed by the response from Helen Whatley, the Minister of State for Social Care which fails to address the vast majority of our asks.
On Thursday 11 June, Sally Light, the CEO of the MND Association, virtually delivered an open letter signed by 3081 of our supporters to the governments of the UK and Wales and to the Northern Ireland Executive. This letter called for them to take urgent action to relieve the pressures that unpaid carers face with measures to provide better support, including:
- An increase in Carers Allowance
- Improved access to testing
- Improved access to PPE
- Provision of clear guidance that helps protect unpaid carers and those they care for as lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted.
The Association is disappointed by the response from the Department of Health and Social Care which does refer to testing and PPE but not in respect of the specific points that we made, and refers us to the Department for Work and Pensions for matters concerning Carers Allowance.
In the response from Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, the Welsh government emphasised their commitment to maintaining carers’ rights and to adequately supporting them through the alleviation of lockdown. The letter highlighted the following actions that the Welsh Government has taken, or will take, for carers:
- Committed an additional funding of £50,000 to Carers Wales from the beginning of June to provide unpaid carers with more professional and peer support
- Included representatives from carers organisations on the dedicated task and finish group to handle the COVID-19 crisis and its implications.
- Met with the Carers Ministerial Advisory Group at the end of June to consider plans for supporting all carers as we emerge from lockdown.
- Granted £2.1 million worth of funding to three carer specific projects in April under the new Third Sector Sustainable Social Services grant scheme.
The Association is still waiting to receive a response from the Northern Ireland Executive.
Thank you so much to all supporters who signed and championed the open letter. The huge swell of support that the letter received is truly appreciated and it was amazing to see over 3000 signatures in such a short space of time.
We will continue to deliver on our commitment to carers and we will follow up with a wide range of carers organisations and coalitions of which we are a member, to ensure the voice of MND carers are heard by decision makers. These coalitions include the Care and Support Alliance, the Welsh Neurological Alliance, the Wales Care Alliance and the motion advocated by Oxfam GB to support carers in the UK. We have written jointly, with other carers’ organisations, to the Department of Work and Pensions and the Chancellor on Carers Allowance.
Thank you once again for all your support.