In Carers Week 2020, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has called on the Government to urgently provide an emergency support package to unpaid carers across the UK, paid for by reversing cuts to inheritance tax introduced in 2015.
The support would include:
- An immediate increase in the Carer’s Allowance and Premiums to £75.75, up £8.50 a week or £442 a year, with a commitment to an annual increase in line with inflation
- A one-off Carers’ Bonus of £250 to recognise the additional demands of caring during the coronavirus crisis
- An end to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ policy which limits the support available to carers who are not UK citizens
- A commitment to an independent review of the Carer’s Allowance, to suggest a fair and decent allowance amount based on need
The £8.50 increase to the Carer’s Allowance in England and Wales would match recent changes in Scotland, which has just introduced a Carer's Allowance Supplement of £230.10 paid every six months.
An additional one-off cash bonus of £250 would acknowledge the additional challenges faced by carers during Coronavirus, while an end to the cruel ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policy would enable carers from overseas to access support.
Recent research by Carers UK suggests that carers’ costs are rising, and their benefits are not keeping pace. Over 55 per cent of unpaid carers currently feel overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities, and 81 per cent are having to spend more money during the coronavirus outbreak. Previous research from the New Policy Institute showed that 1.2 million working-age carers are living in poverty.
The proposed increase in the Carers’ Allowance would cost the Chancellor an estimated £344 million a year. The one-off Carers’ Bonus would cost an estimated £195m.
Layla Moran has suggested this could be paid for by reversing the 2015 cut to inheritance tax, which would save Government an estimated £725m, leaving additional funding that could be invested into social care.
Layla Moran MP said: “Unpaid carers face extraordinary challenges and are the unsung heroes of Britain. They provide day-in-day-out support for their loved ones, who are often some of the most vulnerable in society. Now more than ever, the Government should recognise their compassion and resilience.
“A weekly £67.25 through the Carer’s Allowance just isn’t good enough. We need to urgently recognise the hard work of carers throughout this crisis, through an immediate uplift in the Carer’s Allowance and a one-off cash bonus of £250.
“In response to the previous economic crisis, £31 million was cut from carers' benefits, and 10,000 people had their Carer’s Allowance removed completely. These cuts made carers feel at best taken for granted and at worst ignored. This was the wrong approach, and it must now be reversed.
“Longer-term, an independent review is needed to recommend a fair allowance amount based on need, and to determine who should be eligible.”