750,000 carers ‘deserve equal pay’
THOUSANDS of carers are calling on Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd to raise the payments to people looking after loved ones across the UK so they get the same amount as those in Scotland.
More than 750,000 people caring for relatives in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are £442 a year worse off than carers in Scotland.
Unpaid carers outside Scotland receiving Carer’s Allowance – the main benefit for people caring more than 35 hours a week for family or friends – receive just £64.60 per week.
In Scotland it has been increased by £8.50 per week putting it at the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance – £73.10 a week.
Today a letter signed by 8,200 carers will be handed to Ms Rudd demanding that the same amount of money is offered to all carers.
Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind and many unpaid carers who rely on this support face a neverending struggle to make ends meet.
“We know that 1.2 million carers are living in poverty, with many having to cut back on small things that allow them a life outside of their caring responsibilities – and even
Carer Joanna and her disabled daughter Hannah forgoing essentials such as food and heating.
“The increase for carers in Scotland is welcome.
“Now it’s time the Government made it fairer for carers and raised Carer’s Allowance in the rest of the UK – recognising carers’ enormous contribution to the economy, worth over £132billion every year.”
A carer in Northern Ireland known only as Joanna, 58, said: “For me, Carer’s Allowance is some recognition of what I have given up and what I save the Government to look after my disabled daughter Hannah, 20.
“Her disability means that it was extremely difficult for me to go back to work in the NI Civil Service.”
Last night a Government spokesperson said: “We value the vitally important role carers play. Since 2010 we’ve increased Carer’s Allowance so carers now receive an extra £550 a year, and carers may be eligible for other benefits which can be paid at a higher rate than for those without caring responsibilities.”