750,000 car­ers ‘de­serve equal pay’

Daily Express - - News - By Sarah O’Grady

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.”

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