People who care for others - whether paid or unpaid, young or old - do a remarkable and important job. They deserve our support, but are far too often forgotten and ignored.
Carers face big challenges every single day, not just here in Sutton but across the country - many are living in poverty, find it impossible to juggle work with caring responsibilities and are struggling with their own physical and mental health which has been made even harder by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charity Carers UK estimates that there are 11.5 million people across the UK who give unpaid support to someone who is elderly, seriously ill or disabled and it estimates that, by doing so, unpaid carers are saving the Government £193 billion a year. Here in Sutton one in ten adults identify as being a carer, with a significant number of children taking on caring responsibilities.
Earlier this week, my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I brought forward a debate on the issue of carers and the lack of support given to them at a meeting of Sutton Council. I am pleased to tell you that Liberal Democrat councillors voted to support the campaign to introduce paid carers’ leave, to raise the Carer’s allowance by £20 a week and provide emergency funding for respite care.
Despite warm words, it is disappointing that Sutton's Conservative Councillors sat on their hands and abstained, failing to support these modest measures to improve the lives and incomes of carers not just here in Sutton, but across the country.
We believe carers deserve better. We are already calling on the Conservative government to raise the Carer's Allowance by £1000 a year - join us and sign our petition here.