I recognise the valuable contribution made by carers of call kinds - residential, domiciliary, paid, unpaid - many of whom spend a significant proportion of their life providing support to family members, friends and neighbours. I totally agree that carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles. A tenth of adults in the UK provide unpaid care for a friend or family member. I believe that these people should be supported in the invaluable work they do.
That is why a cross-Government National Carers Strategy was introduced to look at what more can be done to support existing and future carers. After a lengthy consultation with carers themselves, the Government announced a two-year programme of support. This includes support for young carers, effective action to help carers balancing their caring and employment responsibilities, and ensuring that health and social care services are responsive to their needs.
This year, Carers' Week has fallen during the coronavirus pandemic, a time which has highlighted the invaluable work carried out by carers, both paid and unpaid. I welcome that the Government has fulfilled its commitment to offer tests to all adult care homes for over-65s for their residents and staff. At the beginning of June, a new Social Care Sector Covid-19 Support Taskforce, chaired by David Pearson was also announced. It will work to tackle and control the transmission of the virus in social care. I will continue to work with the Government throughout this difficult time in particular to ensure that carers are able to access the support that they need.
The Government is continuing to support the implementation of improved rights for carers, enshrined in the Care Act 2014. I welcome the fact that benefits to support vulnerable and disabled people, including Carer’s Allowance, are exempt from the freeze on working-age benefits.
I am also glad to note that the Department of Health and Social Care will continue to lead a programme of targeted work to support carers, including those that are young and unpaid.