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The Labour Party will today pledge a new package of support to help England’s 5.4 million unpaid family carers, it has been announced.

Under a future Labour majority Government, the NHS would be duty-bound to identify family carers in need of support and identify problems before they escalate.

Family carers struggling with the pressures of looking after elderly and disabled relatives will be given the right to request an ‘annual health check’.

Labour would also ring-fence funding that allows carers to take breaks away from caring for loved-ones, and the money would go straight to carers themselves.

Employers, trade unions and carers organisations would be consulted on how to improve flexible working hours, including measures to help family carers take time away from work in the event of a short-term crisis.

Family carers struggling with transport costs will be included in groups who can be eligible for hospital car parking concessions.

Labour say they would create a ‘single point of contact’, so that family carers would not have to ‘battle different parts of the system’ to get the support they desperately need.

Labour has also reiterated their pledge to scrap the deeply controversial ‘bedroom tax’, which they claim hits 60,000 family carers and penalises those who need a spare room.

Liz Kendall MP, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, said:

“Family life is changing and more and more of us are looking after elderly or disabled relatives. This can often be a real struggle and many families feel pushed to breaking point.

“Too often carers have to battle all the different services to try and get the support they need. One in three family carers who are in paid work have to give up their job or reduce their hours because they can’t get the right help to care or flexible working hours.

“Most unpaid carers don’t have enough time to pay attention to their own health, and many don’t come forward for help or get any breaks. Often people don’t even see themselves as being a carer – they’re just a son, daughter, husband, wife or partner trying to look after the person they love.

“It’s not right that people who do so much get so little in return. We need to improve support for families, and Labour’s package of measures will make a real and practical difference to their lives.”

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  • Jayson Carmichael

    disgraceful tho that only ukip is pledging to increase carers allowance and only ta jobseekers allowance equivalent

    • David

      But unemployed carers already receive more than the average job seeker – Carers Allowance is paid at £61.35 and can be topped up by Income Support at £45.25. Whereas JSA is paid at £72.40 (both cases excluding any disability premiums).

      Raising CA inline with JSA wouldn’t change a thing, They would still receive 106.60 per week as the Income Support top-up would reduce.

      • Yes, the Carer’s Allowance is deducted straight out of other benefits – thats why a lot of people don’t bother to apply for it.

  • Nobbys Tackles

    Jayson i think you will find that the Greens will also look after carers ,

  • aud

    I like the “unemployed carers” comment in some of the replies. If you’re a carer, you’re not unemployed in the eyes of the dwp because you’re not on unemployment list, but you are classed as unemployed by banks, mortgage companies etc.. as an ex carer of a disabled mother, for 27 years (& yes, some of those earlier years, I worked full time also) I know the financial difficulties faced by many carers, but it’s not just the financial side that’s hard. As a carer, you are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year. If you are lucky enough to go on holiday with the person you care for, it’s not a holiday for the carer, we still do exactly the same as we do at home. My health suffered because I got no help from anywhere. If like me, you are a carer for many years, you get forgotten about by social care, nhs, gp’s etc. I found out more about the help I should have had, only when my Mum had died. Too late for me, I’m now practically disabled myself because of sole caring duties over a prolonged time. Don’t misunderstand me, I would do it again in a heartbeat, she was my Mum & I loved her, but I would do it differently, now that I know who to ask for help & no, it’s not my GP.

  • Liz O’neill

    labour are nothing but liars, they wont help anyone if they are elected, they have just voted with the tories for 30billon more cuts, carers like pentioners, children, the sick and the unemployed will get nothing from either the torys or labour, its time to give the greens a chance to run things, labour and the tories have time and again proved that they are against anyone who is not a millionaire.