Clapping for carers may have officially ended, but each year 6.5m people in the UK provide unpaid care for a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older. This year carers have experienced additional challenges as they have given so much in order to protect themselves and those they care for.
Many carers provide round the clock care, and yet Carers Allowance is £67.25 a week for someone providing at least 35 hours a week. Many carers do not work as they are providing full time care. It is time that their work and dedication is recognised and they are provided with a fair Carers Allowance. During this season, it has not been possible for some carer to get vital respite breaks or even short relief in order to have some personal time. For some demands of them have increased as lockdown presents new and additional challenges from increased mental health challenges to not being able to access normal health services.
It is vital that carers continue to receive recognition and support for their vital contribution to society, contributing £132bn to the economy. National Carers Week offers a timely opportunity to reflect upon and right the injustices that many carers in the UK have faced in recent years through insufficient Carers Allowance.
Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, said:
“Carers urgently need the recognition and support that they deserve. Often the hidden support to our health and care system, carers serve family and friends to meet their needs, often round the clock. Carers Allowance is barely a token of recognition for all carers provide. Carers week should be marked with a rise in Carers Allowance. I have been exploring the possibility of a Universal Basic Income for full time cares, where they will receive a basic wage, enough to live off. In addition I believe carers need to receive wider support, including respite care.”
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