Last week local MP, Wera Hobhouse, asked Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to ask to make time for a debate in Parliament on the challenges faced by unpaid carers and “what more Government could do to support them”.
The exchange took place on Thursday 26th November, which is Carers' Rights Day. The Bath MP highlighted the value that unpaid carers add to the UK economy and social care sector, saving the Government an estimated £530 million every day since the start of the pandemic. She also acknowledged how unpaid carers do “a remarkable job in difficult circumstances”.
Ms. Hobhouse asked her question the day that her Liberal Democrat Party in Parliament launched their Carers' Rights Campaign, headed by Leader, Ed Davey (a carer himself), fighting to increase the Unpaid Carers' Allowance by £20 a week in line with the rise of Universal Credit.
In response to her question Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House and MP for North East Somerset, said:
“I am very grateful to the Hon. Lady for raising that point and for allowing us to pay tribute to carers on Carers' Rights Day. It is a remarkably selfless thing that they do; it is incredibly difficult and hard work, and sometimes—particularly during lockdown—it has been very lonely work for carers who are members of the family and who are doing it out of love, rather than because they are employed.”
“In terms of finding extra funding, I am sure the Hon. Lady listened to the Chancellor’s statement yesterday. The public finances are not in a situation, I fear, where it is possible to find additional funding for things that it would be very nice to do if we were in a different financial situation.”
Following the exchange, Wera Hobhouse said:
“I do not agree that more support for carers is just a ‘nice thing to do’. For many unpaid carers, in Bath and wider afield, the additional support - that the Liberal Democrats are asking for - is the difference between being able to pay bills or not. £67.25 a week is incredibly hard to live on, especially in cities such as Bath.
“Our Government relies on the savings that unpaid carers allow us to make in our social care budgets. It is time to stop taking that for granted.”
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