We, the undersigned, call for an end to carer poverty.
In the National Strategy for Carers the government pledged that, by 2018 'carers will be supported so that they are not forced into financial hardship by their caring role.'
Carers cannot wait. Too many are living in poverty and financial hardship now - struggling to afford the basic costs of living, unable to study or work without their benefits being cut-off or facing the removal of their allowance when they start to claim their pension.
The UK's 6 million carers save the country an estimated £87 billion per year. In return, the main carer's benefit is the lowest of its kind, paid at only £53.10 a week for a minimum of 35 hours caring, equivalent to £1.52 per hour - far short of the national minimum wage of £5.73 per hour.
We call upon the government to set out an urgent timetable of action to improve carers' benefits and income. The carers' benefits system must:
* Protect carers from falling into poverty or financial hardship * Reflect carers' different circumstances * Help carers to combine caring with paid work and study * Be easy to understand and straightforward to claim
Carers UK's poverty charter is backed by Alzheimer's Society, Citizens Advice, Contact a Family, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Caring for Carers, Every Disabled Child Matters, for dementia, Mencap, Macmillan Cancer, Motor Neurone Disease Society, National Autistic Society, Oxfam, Parkinson's Disease Society, Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Rethink, USDAW and Vitalise.
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