Mark H Durkan: "Unpaid carers save the UK economy £132 billion per year – that is astounding."
SDLP Foyle MLA, Mark H Durkan, has reiterated calls for an increase in Carers Allowance to ensure an estimated 300,000 unpaid carers across the North are given the financial support they require and deserve.
Mr Durkan said the introduction of a Carers Strategy, which would provide a robust framework of services and support system for carers as outlined in the SDLP manifesto, is key to improving life for carers and the future of adult social care.
He stated that carers save the UK economy £132billion a year and that their contribution must be matched with a better wage.
Mr Durkan said: “Currently there are an estimated 300, 000 unpaid carers across the north. This week is a chance to highlight the work they do, the value of their work and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
“Carers are an invaluable resource within our society and it's an understatement to say that the health system could not operate without them.
“Unpaid carers save the UK economy £132 billion per year – that is astounding.
“Evidently, they are a vital contribution and that contribution must be matched by financial recognition.
“We need to be looking towards the Scottish Model in the interim, providing a Carer’s Supplement that will top up the existing Carer’s Allowance provision.
SDLP Foyle MLA, Mark H Durkan
“ In the longer term, carers benefits need a complete overhaul including increasing the earning’s threshold, removing restrictions for full time students and providing a higher payment which reflects the nature of this challenging work.
“Taking on the role as a carer of a loved one can take a significant toll on individual’s finances as well as their mental health.
“The number of unpaid carers is set to rise in the years ahead given our growing ageing population.
“We need to be proactive to support carers properly, the SDLP manifesto makes an explicit commitment to put carers at the heart of reforms of adult social care including the introduction of a Carers Strategy to invest in services and support system for carers.
“The work of carers often goes unseen, under appreciated. They must be rewarded accordingly and supported for the job they do.”
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