Lib Dems on North Devon Council Urge Chancellor to Support Our Carers
Originally published by Devon Liberal Democrats
Lib Dems on North Devon Council have passed a motion to urge the Chancellor to raise the Carer's Allowance by £20 a week immediately, in line with the increase in Universal Credit.
The request follows a new report from Carers UK, 'Unseen and undervalued', which was published last year puts the value of care provided by unpaid carers during the Covid-19 pandemic at £530 million a day. Thousands of unpaid carers are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances but as a result many are facing real hardship. 900,000 full-time unpaid carers rely on the Carer's Allowance which is just £67.25 a week. It's not nearly enough and so has resulted in many relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government increased the Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element by £20 a week above the planned uprating in April 2020, but it has not increased the Carer's Allowance. At just £67.25 a week, the Carer's Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind. According to the DWP statistics 1226 full-time unpaid carers in North Devon rely on the Carer's Allowance with 691 who are entitled to the allowance currently not receiving it at all.
Nicola Topham, Lib Dem Councillor for Barnstaple with Westacott Ward, said:
"Carers - paid and unpaid, young and old - do a remarkable and important job. They are an integral part of our community. They deserve our support, but are far too often forgotten and ignored. As the report says, carers are unseen and undervalued by this Government.
"Carers in North Devon and across the country face big challenges every single day; challenges that have been made even harder by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most are having to spend more time looking after loved ones during the pandemic; most haven't been able to take a single break since it started; and most are simply exhausted.
"Situations provoking care interventions can happen with little warning. Often those giving care have to reduce their working hours or give up work to juggle competing demands. The pressures on young carers can negatively impact on their experiences and outcomes in education, having a lasting effect on their life chances.
"Many carers are facing extreme financial hardship during this pandemic. They have been struggling for months, often relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for. That's why Liberal Democrats on North Devon Council are calling on the Government to support unpaid carers by immediately raising Carer's Allowance. Liberal Democrats will stand up for carers and lead the way to a more caring society."