The Government has announced today (16 November 2010) £400 million in new funding for carers breaks as part of the Government's vision for adult social care.
Commenting on the announcement, Imelda Redmond CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“We warmly welcome significant new funding to enable people who are looking after ill or disabled relatives to take breaks from caring. Families are the backbone of the care and support system in the UK, and we are pleased that the Government has recognised that supporting them must be the foundation of any vision for social care.
"We know that, as our population ages, the pressure on families is growing. The percentage of families caring for over 50 hours a week has doubled in the last nine years  and many are not getting the support they need. Carers who don’t get breaks are far more likely to fall into ill-health  and support which allows carers to take a bit of time off can prevent them being pushed to breaking point.
"It is important that this money is used innovatively to ensure that families get support which fits their needs. Some carers need time away from their caring responsibilities to recharge their batteries, but other families just want to be supported to take a break together.
"Finally, it is crucial that this funding actually reaches carers. In the past, carers have been let down, as funding pledges which have made headlines have not been delivered on the ground. We call on the Government to work with local services to ensure that every penny of this funding is spent on supporting families who care.”
Department of Health press release: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=416559&SubjectId=16&AdvancedSearch=true
 Survey of Carers in Households (2010) NHS Information Centre
 Those not receiving a break were far more likely to suffer from mental health problems, 36% compared to 17% of those carers getting a break (Hearts and Minds: the Health Effects of Caring (2004) Carers UK