This week is Carers Week, which is an opportunity for us all to recognise and support the important work carried out each day by millions of carers throughout the country.
There are 6.5 million people in the UK who provide free care for disabled or ill family members or friends. This free care saves the exchequer billions of pounds each year but, despite this, the Government is failing to give carers the support they need.
A recent survey by the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), found that only 4 per cent of parents and carers feel they get the right support to safely care for their disabled children. As Age UK’s ‘Breaking Point’ campaign highlights, caring responsibilities fall disproportionately on women, who often provide care for children as well as older family members.
Two years ago, the Government promised to fix our overstretched social care system with a Green Paper but this has yet to materialise.
While we wait for a response from the Government, I’ve been working with Sheffield Young Carers to campaign for more provision, including free bus travel, for local young carers. At the same time, to help improve standards in the care sector, I’m leading an inquiry into the professionalisation of paid care workers in my role as Joint Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Care.
I’ll continue to push for improvements in our social care system to make sure that unpaid carers, paid care workers, and those receiving care are all given the support they deserve and require.