TACT was hoping the Chancellor’s Autumn statement would include more help for foster carers during the cost-of-living crisis. The charity’s call to the government to raise foster carer tax allowance, which has not been increased at all since its introduction in 2003, and to make carers exempt from Council Tax, have yet again been ignored. However, TACT does welcome the rise in benefits, especially Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Foster carers who look after children with additional and complex needs often have higher than average energy usage thanks to necessary specialist support and equipment. The spiralling energy costs have hit them very hard. Any rise in DLA and carers allowance will obviously help them. However, as support for energy bills will become less generous from April 2023, it could mean foster carers of children with complex and additional needs will see their energy bills go up by hundreds of pounds a year. TACT will continue to support our carers to weather this economic storm, but as a charity we should not have to subsidise the government.
Sharntel – South London based TACT foster carer for a child with complex medical needs said: “Whilst it is pleasing to see that DLA will be raised in line with inflation to the 10.1%, in real terms that will have minimal impact on ensuring the continued quality of life for the child I care for. As a carer of a child with complex medical needs, my electricity and heating bills are already very high to manage the level of laundry washing and specialist equipment my foster child needs, so come April the energy cost might outweigh the rise in DLA.”
TACT CEO Andy Elvin said: “For all foster carers the cost of keeping their children fed and warm has rocketed yet the money we receive from the government via local authorities has not increased. TACT will continue to ensure that our foster carers will be able to ride out the current financial challenges.”
Sharntel added: “The government has barely increased foster carer allowances in years. DLA is for additional things like special toys or fun days out, not solely be used as part of a disabled child’s day to day basic needs. In terms of the government, they do not appear to have gone far enough to protect the most vulnerable, and safeguard children in care, especially those with disabilities, from bearing the brunt of these brutal economic times we are currently facing.”