A New Social Contract For Care: 2025 Budget Submission

Posted on Thursday 27 June 2024


Pictured at the launch of Family Carers Ireland's 2025 pre-budget submission are left to right Clare Duffy, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Family Carers Ireland; Damien Douglas, family carer and Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland. PHOTO: Shane O'Neill, Coalesce.

Thursday, 27th June 2024:

Family Carers Ireland today unveiled its pre-budget submission for 2025, calling for a bold and ambitious approach from the Government to address long-standing issues affecting family carers across the country. The submission, titled "A New Social Contract for Care," outlines eight pillars of change essential to support and recognise the invaluable contributions of family carers.

Family Carers Ireland is urging the Government to deliver the following in Budget 2025:

  1. Abolition of the Carer’s Allowance means test
  2. A fair and adequate income
  3. A right to respite
  4. Fully fund the Carers’ Guarantee
  5. Deliver the Statutory Home Support Scheme
  6. Prioritise support for children with additional needs
  7. Deliver housing, transport, and climate justice
  8. Support carers in employment

The submission is shaped by the findings of the charity’s State of Caring 2024 report which shows that family carers are being pushed to the brink and abandoned by a broken system. Key findings include that 74% of family carers said that the people they care for do not receive sufficient formal support; 72% have never received respite, 69% find it difficult to make ends meet, 49% have paid privately for products or services that should be publicly provided to support their caring role and 34% said their accommodation is not suitable to meet the needs of the person they care for. When asked to select their top five priorities that Family Carers Ireland should campaign on ahead of the next General Election, over 71% chose reform of the means test for Carer's Allowance.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, stated:

“The Government must be ambitious in Budget 2025. Many of the challenges experienced by family carers relate to long-standing structural issues, often due to policies or decisions made years or even decades ago. We need to challenge the status quo and shed practices and policies that no longer serve us or fail to deliver the results intended.

“Therapy waiting lists, delays in assessments of need, the lack of school places for children with additional needs, the consistent inadequacy of respite care, the postcode lottery that continues to characterise family carers' access to the most basic of supports and services and the inability to deliver home support hours are casualties of policies that urgently need to be overhauled.

“The State is at a critical juncture in supporting family carers. Although the care referendum was defeated, it ignited a vital national conversation about care and disability issues. It brought to light the challenges faced by family carers and those receiving care and highlighted the need for a more ambitious, progressive, and rights-based care system. It was a wake-up call that the State cannot be complacent in its obligation to support the hundreds of thousands of family carers who provide care.

“The Government must not underestimate the public’s appetite for change. Instead, it must move beyond mere lip service to meeting the demand for genuine progress and concrete action. We must use Budget 2025 to begin to transform what has now become an antiquated and paternalistic model of support for family carers into a mutual and equal partnership where carers are valued for their immense contribution; they receive fair compensation for the care they provide; are not excluded from supports due to their means; and have timely access to the health and social services that they and their loved ones need when, where, and how they are needed.”

A New Social Contract For Care