A carers' manifesto

With a snap general election called, Carers UK have five top priorities that carers might want to see from a future Government. These are based on years of evidence, consultation and involvement with carers.

The UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers provide the majority of care for families, but pressure on our health and care system, insufficient financial support and lack of rights in the workplace are putting an unsustainable strain on us.

Our vision is of a society that values, respects and supports carers. The time has come for a new social contract between carers, public services, employers, and wider society to achieve this vision.

"I am constantly on edge waiting for ‘that’ phone call or ‘that’ letter in the post or the debit card declined at the supermarket checkout."

Carers cannot go on living like this. And although some of these decisions are devolved to nations, carers across the UK have the same message - we need:

  • Financial security
  • Care services that are there when we need them
  • An NHS that supports us
  • To be able to combine work and care if we choose to
  • To have the information and advice to prepare and make choices about caring.

We want all political parties to commit to:

To ensure that carers and our families do not suffer financial hardship as a result of caring:

Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind, at just £62.70 a week. We hear from carers having to cut back on essentials like food or heating just to make ends meet. The huge value of unpaid care needs to be recognised.

  • Carer’s Allowance needs to be raised significantly over the longer term and in the short term at least raised to the level of Job Seeker’s Allowance (an increase of £10 per week) with equivalent increases to carer premia to ensure that those on the lowest incomes benefit from an increase.
  • The earnings threshold for Carer’s Allowance needs to rise year on year in line with the National Living Wage pegged at least to the equivalent of 16 hours a week. A taper should also be introduced.
  • To auto-enrol carers in a second pension – a Carer’s Pension that recognises the value of unpaid work and ensures that carers do not suffer financial hardship later in life.