From Ilkley Gazette, September 4th, 2018
A LOCAL charity that supports unpaid carers is backing a national campaign calling on the Government to raise Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance. Carer’s Allowance - the main benefit for people who provide unpaid care for family or friends - is the lowest benefit of its kind at £64.60 per week. It is going up by £8.50 per week in Scotland to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Carers’ Resource, which gives practical and emotional support to 16,000 unpaid carers across the district is backing national charity Carers UK, which is sending a letter on behalf of the 6.5 million carers in the UK to Secretary of State Esther McVey. The letter will ask for Carer’s Allowance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to be raised by at least £8.50 to match the changes in Scotland.
Carers’ Resource chief executive Chris Whiley recently consulted with carers, the charity’s staff and professional partners about the impact of the national Carers Action Plan, which was published in June after months of delays.
She said: “The action plan set out a cross-Government programme of work to support carers over the next two years. The main concerns raised by people we spoke to was that Carer’s Allowance is not in line with other benefits, which puts financial pressure on carers and gives a negative image of the value put on caring. That’s why we’re backing Carers UK’s Make It Fairer For Carers campaign.
“We know that unpaid carers save the economy an estimated £132bn a year, so we should recognise this and avoid pushing carers into debt or poverty. We have a moral duty to ensure carers have enough money to live on. Life should not be a financial struggle when they give so much of themselves for other people and our wider society."
Carers and anyone else who supports the letter can sign it at https://bit.ly/2wmRrqd
As part of the action plan feedback, Carers’ Resource contacted the MPs in the areas it covers to ask them to raise this issue in Parliament.
Conservative MP for Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale, Philip Davies, said: “Carers Resource provide wonderful support for carers and I am delighted they are making such a contribution to national policy in this field. It is essential that better support is in place to help carers who do such a wonderful job and I will continue to do all I can to ensure the concerns raised by individual carers and Carers Resource are listened to by Government Ministers”.
Ilkley’s Labour MP John Grogan said: “More respite care, financial support for carers who are themselves retired and making it easier for those who can to take part time employment are very reasonable requests.”