Charity welcomes cross-party report which supports carers
Carers UK has welcomed a cross-party report from MPs on the House of Commons Select Committee which calls for important changes to support unpaid carers to stay in, or return to, paid work.
The charity called on the Government to improve access to the labour market for carers who have been out of the workplace for prolonged periods of time and demonstrated how sustainably funded health and care services would help working carers to balance their work and caring responsibilities.
In addition, the Committee suggested a variety of things that the Government should do in order to help carers. One suggestion was to withdraw Carer’s Allowance gradually as income rises, in line with the Universal Credit taper system, as the current system sees Carer’s Allowance withdrawn immediately after a carer earns £120 a week or more.
Another suggestion made by the Committee was to allow carers to request flexible working from the first day of their employment as this would encourage cares to stay in work if they were better supported in the case of unexpected emergencies.
Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy, who gave evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: “A staggering three million people juggle a paid job with caring for an older or disabled loved one. Too often we see a negative impact on their health and wellbeing and over two million have given up work to care with potentially devastating impacts on their finances. It’s time that our workplaces reflect the reality of how we live now. Government has an important role to play in fostering change by setting an example as a carer friendly employer, and by putting the necessary rights, entitlements and support systems in place for carers.
“Supporting carers to juggle work and care makes strong economic as well as social sense. The UK economy needs people to continue working for longer but this also increases the likelihood of caring whilst working. The Committee’s recommendations are both deliverable and desirable, and there is a growing expectation amongst the public that Government must do more to support carers.”
A carer-led charity which aims to make life better for cares, Carers UK offers advice, information and support as well as campaigns for lasting change.
Emily continued: “Carers UK has long argued for a right to paid time off work to care and we are pleased that the Committee has called strongly upon Government to introduce this.
“Today’s report also has important recommendations for Government about the benefits system that could be changed to help people to juggle work and care. Carers UK has called for many years for a link between the earnings rule for Carer’s Allowance and the National Living Wage. Making this change is an obvious step, along with a taper, which would prevent many from making stark choices between stopping caring, reducing or stopping work or missing out on financial support.
“The Government must now move swiftly to accept and put in place the Committee’s recommendations.”