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Opinion: Prime minister must boost carers pay to help families

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 August 2019

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, wants the £8bn carers cuts reversed.

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, wants the £8bn carers cuts reversed.

©Louise Haywood-Schiefer/lhschiefer.com/2017

Last week I had to laugh when the new prime minister said he wanted to abolish "the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care"?

Surely I thought everyone would remember that he voted for the £8billion worth of cuts to social care? Surely everyone would remember that just two years ago he stood on a manifesto that wanted to sell your home not just if you had moved into a residential care home, but to pay for social care actually provided in your own home! He was even a member of the cabinet at the time.

Residential care for the elderly now costs on average over £40,000 a year.

Yet government still fails to properly recognise the work that family members do and the money they save the public purse when they take on the care of relatives. Carers allowance is less than £3,500 a year!

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Basic attendance allowance to supply the elderly person's needs is not even that - £3,052!

In Brent many people who are struggling to look after parents with dementia and other care needs will wonder why their loved ones can only get 15 minutes of social care a day.

They will wonder why government does not value the work they do.

Of course people should not be forced to sell their homes to pay for their care. But government ought to restore the £8billion of cuts and start paying carers properly.

A just society is one where everyone gets the care they need throughout their life and where the love and goodwill of relatives is not exploited by government.

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