£53.10 per week is what a carer gets paid by the state for the full-time work they do for the member (or members) of their family they are looking after.
This, based on a full-time equivalent, means they get £1.52 per hour. If they are in receipt of the state pension, £95.25 (for a single person), or are a student, or have an outside income over £95/week they don’t qualify at all for the carer’s allowance.
With an ageing population we need to be more and more aware of the work that carers do which actually saves the country money.
Carers UK, the charity that champions the cause of the UKs 6 million carers, has estimated that the work carers do in their own homes would cost the nation £87 Billion/year, if the state had to provide it. If the carer was unable to provide the care, through whatever reason, this is what would have to happen.
I, for one, could not survive on this paltry amount and feel; although its relatively recent introduction is a welcome lifeline to carers, it really is a benefit that ought to fairly represent the work and commitment that carers give.
Some people tell me that this is just looking after their family and that carers should do it for nothing. However, if I found myself in the position of having to care for a close family member, ignoring the issue of whether I could actually cope with it or not, I would have to abandon my career, and my pay, to care. As a consequence I would lose my own future to care. The commitment is intellectual, emotional as well as financial.
The next election will increasingly be fought in the environment of social care being a key election battleground. Liberal Democrats need to make sure that they put their ideas about, and support for, carers at the centre of their manifesto to improve the lives of this often forgotten group in society.
That’s why I will be helping to organise a Carers Rights Day event in my area later in the year others should too.
(I was delighted to see that the Daily Mirror is running a campaign to raise the profile of the work of carers.)