According to new research commissioned for Carers Week, four out of 5 carers in the country - that's 80% - are worried about cuts to services. The Carers Week website (see here) adds that "Almost half don't know how they will cope as the axe falls on some of the vital support they rely on…"
Salford Council is currently in the process of making £290,000 cuts to carer services in the city over the next three years, a consequence of the ConDem Government's axe hitting public services.
Latest figures from Salford Council show the `Support to Carers' budget being slashed by £61,000 this financial year, leading to a total of £240,000 cuts by 2013/14.
Meanwhile the `Universal Advice and Information and Administration of Carers Personal Budget' is being cut by £28,000 this year leading to a total of £50,000 by 2013/14.
These cuts are shocking and will affect the three in five people who will become an unpaid carer at some point in their lives. And the financial and psychological fall out is horrendous…
The Carers Week website quotes two people facing such difficulties…
"I am now hugely in debt, my savings have gone, I cannot pay essential bills like gas and electric, I cannot meet my full mortgage payments" says Jules Wood who cares for her disabled son "Today I would have walked off a bridge if it weren't for my children."
A carer who wants to remain anonymous adds "I cannot work and this means my home is at risk of repossession. The person I care for will also be made homeless. We live in poverty."
Carers like these save the UK economy £119 billion each year by relieving pressure on health and social services and serving their communities. Salford Council's cuts will impact on the many carers in the city.
However, rather than explain about how the cuts will affect carers, Salford Council has launched an online Forum "where carers can talk to each other about their experiences to help create a network of support in the city".
The launch press release highlights Mark, a carer from New Broughton, who has bought a laptop from his personal carer budget which "means he can now chat to other carers online and access a whole range of support services".
Except that those `support services' seem to be rapidly dwindling.
"The aim of this project is to get carers talking to each other and the more people who come forward to share their experiences, the more people can learn from it" says John Warmisham, Salford City Council's Lead Member for Adult Social Care ""Some people might not think of themselves as a carer and national Carers' Week is about showing carers the support that's out there and that they're not alone."
Perhaps on the Forum carers can share experiences of Salford City Council cuts to their service…
Find the online Carers Forum at http://services.salford.gov.uk/forum
See the Carers Week website here http://carersweek.org/
Carers week 13-19th June