The Queen has today (Thursday 19th December) set out the Government's agenda in the State Opening of Parliament. In the Queen’s Speech, the new Government committed to introduce an entitlement to leave for unpaid carers juggling paid work with caring responsibilities, something which Carers UK has long been campaigning for.
Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“We know that 1 in 7 people in the UK workforce is juggling their job and unpaid care for a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill, at a huge detriment to their own health and personal finances.
“Carers UK has long been campaigning to relieve the pressure working-age carers face and we are pleased they’ve been recognised with the commitment to introduce care leave in the Queen’s Speech. We look forward to working with the Government to deliver this important step forward for working-age carers.
“It’s a win-win situation for both carers and their employers – carers are better supported in the workplace and employers improve wellbeing and retention of staff. This measure is vital for our ageing workforce, when most of us will be working for longer.
“The Government has said it will find a long term solution for the social care crisis: the Prime Minister promised he would begin this work in his first 100 days of office. We hope he will deliver on his promise. Any solution must have the needs of unpaid carers at its heart, as well as those of the older and disabled people they support, so families across the country can enjoy a better quality of life.
“The legislation for the NHS Long Term Plan is an ideal opportunity to clearly recognise unpaid carers for the first time in primary legislation relating to the NHS. When carers do so much to support the NHS with their unpaid support - valued at £132 billion a year - the NHS should be thinking about them in all their planning and delivery of services.
“We know from our ‘Park the Charges’ campaign that hospital parking costs can be astronomically high and a huge source of stress for carers worrying about their loved one’s appointment and the money they have spare to pay fluctuating charges. We hope the Government’s measures to scrap these charges for those in greatest need includes unpaid carers, who spend much of their time taking loved ones to and from the hospital.”