Give cleaners to the elderly says minister

Voucher scheme could create over 700,000 jobs

  • The system is already used in Belgium and France
  • Report claims it would create more than 700,000 jobs

By Mario Ledwith


The elderly could be given state-funded cleaners so their relatives no longer have to quit their jobs to look after them.

Under a plan backed by the care minister, those no longer able to carry out household tasks would be issued with vouchers to put towards gardeners, cooks and cleaners.

A report claims the system, which is already used in Belgium and France, would help the economy by creating more than 700,000 jobs and stopping relatives having to leave work.

A helping hand: Ministers have suggested that the elderly be given state-funded cleaners so their relatives no longer have to quit their jobs to look after them


The report, endorsed by Liberal Democrat care minister Norman Lamb, has also been backed by a coalition of academics,  charities and leading employers.

The combination of Britain’s ageing population and the rising cost of care is expected to put increasing pressure on younger family members to look after their elderly relatives.

And the report estimates that the exodus of experienced employees from the workplace is already costing the British economy £1.3billion every year.

It says that the voucher system would take pressure off family members who are often unable to maintain their jobs while providing care for elderly relatives.

A report backing the scheme has been endorsed by Liberal Democrat care minister Norman Lamb

The schemes cost billions to implement in Belgium and France, but the report argues that the subsidised employment of thousands of carers would benefit the economy. The report follows a stern warning from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said the UK was facing a care ‘time bomb’.

He accused of employers of failing to provide more flexible working arrangements for those looking after relatives.

Among those backing the report were Sainsbury’s, accountancy firm PwC and the charity Carers UK. The Daily Mail is behind a long-running campaign, Dignity for the Elderly, to ensure a better deal for Britain’s ageing population.

The report concludes: ‘While recognising that in the current financial climate it may be challenging to apply some of these approaches, the group believes that there are some useful learning points from these overseas examples. It therefore wishes to consider alternative, more targeted interventions with the potential to unlock similar outcomes.

‘[It] recommends that the  Government works with selected local authorities in different areas to investigate alternative methods for supporting carers to remain in work, and for developing the care and support market more generally.

‘Investment now may lead to a financial profit as well as creating huge social and health value.’

Madeleine Starr, the director of innovation at Carers UK, said: ‘Government must urgently examine how to cultivate good quality, affordable care services for older people who don’t qualify for local council social care services which are increasingly being rationed to only those with little or no savings and the highest levels of need.’

One Response to Give cleaners to the elderly says minister

  1. Ada says:

    Anyone remember local council home helps?
    That system worked so well for many people.

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