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Fact sheet

National Carers Strategy 2008

Carers Strategy 2008 (1.8 MB)
Key Messages (52 KB)

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers Reponses:
Mental health and substance misuse response (51 KB)
Briefing for young carers and young carers services (161 KB)

The National Carers Strategy has been published under the heading, Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities, with the strapline, “A caring system on your side. A life of your own.” The 172 page document sets out £255m of new funding commitments, including PCTs receiving £150m over two years for breaks and respite. The Strategy applies in full to England, but the (very limited) commitments on income and employment apply UK wide. It is notable that there are no commitments to raise Carers Allowance or make it easier to claim.

The Prime Minister’s preface says that the strategy is the “start of a process rather than the end”, that the strategy “acknowledges that carers need more help and support than has been available in the past” and “above all we recognise the need – repeated so many times throughout our consultation – for better support for respite and short breaks.”

The forward is signed by seven Secretaries of State (DH, CLG, DWP, DBERR, DCSF, DIUS, Gov Equalities Office). It says that “every day 6,000 people take on new caring responsibilities” and that “people who provide a lot of care tend to have lower incomes, poorer health, and are less likely to be in work than their counterparts.”

Good practice from The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now known as Carers Trust) and Crossroads Caring for Carers is mentioned on numerous occasions. Our joint response is on and Crossroads Caring for Carers.

We feel the strategy is a very positive document, with a range of useful commitments backed up by useful resources. It is strong on commitments from DH, including the NHS as well as social care, and from DSCF on young carers. It is weaker on groups currently under-supported, with carers from BME communities, carers of people with substance misuse and mental health problems, and LGBT carers mentioned but mainly covered via good practice examples. There are no commitments on carers’ rights, such as the right to protection from discrimination by association, despite the current case before the European Court which is likely to establish that right in employment law. There could be more on the need for outreach services to ensure carers get into the system. The strategy does not go so far as to attempt a new, shared understanding of the “caring contract” between family and state, which is a key issue for the current review of adult care and support.

With carers services in some areas facing cuts and lack of sign up from councils or NHS trusts, there is a huge amount of work to be done by government working with the third sector, to make the strategy’s aspirations a reality.

Copies of the Strategy are available from or

Carers Trust contact for policy issues: Moira Fraser Director of Policy
Disclaimer: Remember that legislation and guidance changes and that advice obtained from this document should be used as guidance only. Before using any of the information in this guidance document, you must read, in full, the relevant legislation and any other source documents. Advice in this document does not give a full statement of the law and is not a substitute for professional advice. Carers Trust cannot accept any responsibility for loss or liability occasioned as a result of any person acting, or refraining from acting, on information contained in this guidance document.