Thank you for contacting me about extra support for unpaid carers. I think that unpaid carers are unsung heroes and without them millions of people would be left to manage without any support.
I believe that people on low and middle incomes, including the majority of the estimated 11 million unpaid carers and their families, need more support in the face of the current cost of living crisis. With average energy bills rising by over 50% in the first half of 2022, doing nothing is not an option.
That is why I am campaigning for a windfall tax on energy companies. It has been estimated that this could raise more than £3 billion, money that would make a real difference to people across our country. On top of this, I am calling on the Government to scrap VAT on home energy bills for the financial year starting in April 2022. Ministers should also provide focused and targeted support through increasing and expanding the Warm Homes Discount so that almost 10 million people can benefit from it. Taking all these steps could help those most in need save £600 a year.
More widely, I note that last year the Government published a White Paper with proposals for England’s 11 million family carers, who provide the vast majority of care in this country. In my view the extra support proposed does not go far enough.
Unpaid carers have been pushed to the limit during the pandemic looking after the people they love. Almost half had not had a single break for five years even before the pandemic struck, Yet the additional funding in the White Paper amounts to just £1.60 a year more for each unpaid carer. Families deserve so much better than this. What I believe is needed is a long-term vision to put social care on an equal footing with the NHS, at the heart of a modernised welfare state. We also need to reform our social security system, so that it once again provides a proper safety net and has dignity and respect at its heart.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.