A leading carers’ charity has welcomed a decision by the UK Government not to devolve responsibility for Attendance Allowance to local authorities in England.
The UK Government consulted on plans to devolve responsibility for delivering the older people’s disability benefit last year. Charities warned the proposal could have disastrous consequences for older people in receipt of Attendance Allowance, their carers and families.
The plans would have seen the budget and responsibility for Attendance Allowance passed to local councils, at a time when local authorities are already struggling to deliver adequate care and support to older people because of budget cuts.
Carers UK responded to the consultation by warning such a change would negatively impact on older people with care needs and their carers, and urged the UK Government to keep the benefit a ‘national entitlement’.
The charity also called on carers to respond to the consultation and make their MP aware of their concerns as part of its ‘Protect Attendance Allowance’ campaign.
The Secretary of State for Community and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, has now confirmed that Attendance Allowance will not be devolved to local councils.
Welcoming the announcement, Carers UK’s Chief Executive, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: “We are pleased that the concerns of older disabled people and carers have been listened to and we’re grateful to all those who made their views known.
“Localising Attendance Allowance would have risked fragmenting and reducing essential sources of practical and financial support both for older disabled people, and for carers.
“Attendance Allowance helps thousands of older people with the extra costs of disability and enables people to live in their own homes for longer.
“The benefit also provides a clear route for those caring for 35 hours or more, unpaid, to get vital recognition and financial support by enabling them to claim Carer’s Allowance – the main benefit for those caring unpaid and essential income for many who are unable to combine paid work with caring.”