MP Judith Cummins has pledged to push the Government to give more recognition to unpaid carers.
The Bradford South MP visited Carers’ Resource Shipley office after backing the charity’s plea for the Government to reverse its decision not to update the 2008 national Carers Strategy.
The Government said late last year that a Social Care Green Paper this summer will deal with carer issues and it would publish a carers’ action plan after Easter.
Mrs Cummins was told by Carers’ Resource chief executive Chris Whiley that the action plan has still not been published and the concern is that recognition of unpaid carers and their contribution to society will get lost in a Green Paper with such a wide remit.
The Labour MP, who asked a written question in Parliament in February requesting an update on when the action plan would be published, said:
It’s about time we had a national strategy for carers.
“Often carers are so busy caring that their collective voice is silent. It has to be recognised. It’s very easy to take for granted people who are simply getting on with things and I don’t want to do that. I will ask more written questions and ask questions in the House to make sure this is high on the agenda, and I’ll ask the Government for more timely action.”
Ms Whiley said:
Unpaid carers provide help and support to anyone who could not otherwise manage because of frailty, illness or disability.
“It is estimated the contribution carers make to the economy is £132bn a year. Having a national framework would mean that employers, local authorities and the NHS would be given clear direction about taking carers into consideration when planning how to use resources.
“If you start with a national strategy it then trickles down regionally and locally. However, I don’t think we are going to get a national strategy as it was due over a year ago. The Government said there will be an action plan, but we still haven’t got that, and now they’re talking about the Green Paper. My concern in all this is that carers don’t get lost, but I think they will. I don’t think it’s good enough.”
Mrs Cummins added:
Unpaid carers do a job for society and they’re people who deserve love and care. We ought to recognise and look after them.”
Carers’ Resource gives emotional and practical support to 16,000 unpaid carers across the Bradford district, Harrogate and Skipton areas. Contact us for more information or advice.