Friday, 15 July 2011

Carers and the Economy 2

The original Blog on this subject has attracted far more attention than anticipated. My own situation has changed, having been diagnosed myself as a type 2 diabetic, plus my daughter (18) being diagnosed as having Fibromyalga. Finally as I delivered a short speech on this subject recently, it seemed highly appropriate to do a follow up.

In my view carers and their contribution to the UK economy are still highly undervalued. This remains the case despite all the talk of the "Big Society" and the need for a greater appreciation of the volunteer and their contribution.

Just to underline this point here are two key points:

1. HM Revenue & Customs suggest, by implication of their analysis of willing and able taxpayers in their annual report for 2009/10, that there are 50 million potentially willing and able taxpayers in the UK.

2. The Guardian, on line, recently carried a report the UK's 6 million carers save the country £119billion per year.

I don't think I have to do the math here. Consider though what would be the impact on the tax payers and businesses if this money had to be found via any of the usual taxation routes?

If you are a business owner I would ask that you please make sure you have some carer friendly processes in place. If you are a carer please be fair on your employer, yes you do have rights today following changes in legislation, but if you work with your employer they should reciprocate and support you. It is no advantage to either employer of carer if a business suffers and even ceases to trade due to a breakdown in the employer/carer relationship. If you are having problems around this element then why not call me and lets see if we can find a solution. Communication, not confrontation, is always best.

With local authorities and the NHS, across the country, making cuts and efficiency savings throughout adult care, mental health care etc, we are almost sure to be more dependant than ever on carers. This will have a wider economic impact; young carers do struggle to achieve their full potential thus not contributing to the economy, employees and business owners battling to deliver a private sector led recovery will be additionally challenged and the 3 out of 5 of us who at some stage in our lives become carers, will grow towards 4 out of five, or even all of us.

A ticking time bombe and perhaps a case of knowing the costs, but not the value, when it comes to efficiency savings?


For the Guardian article see the link http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/may/12/carers-save-uk-119bn-a-year