Local MP and ‘Carers Ambassador’ Tessa Munt has announced her party’s intention to reward almost 1,300 carers in the Mendip area and more than 1,600 carers in the Sedgemoor area with a bonus worth up to £250 a year – should the Lib Dems form part of the next Government.
The annual bonus will help more than one million people who look after disabled loved-ones nationally, and would be available to anyone who receives the Carer’s Allowance or the Carer’s Premium.
The annual payment will help full-time carers get a bit of extra help and is in recognition of the invaluable contribution they make to society.
“Carers are Britain’s unsung heroes and heroines. Up and down the country, behind closed doors, you’ll find a hidden army of carers doing amazing things every day. Six in ten of us will at some point in our lives find ourselves caring for someone else – an elderly relative, a child or a sick friend who needs our support.”
These are the people who deserve our support even in hard times, which is why we plan to push for a Carer’s Bonus, to give them a little extra help. Goodness knows, we already trust our carers to look after the most vulnerable, and they save the NHS and the country an estimated £119 billion each and every year. It is only right that they should receive some recognition, and are free to spend this money how they see fit. I am grateful for the work they do day in, day out.”
Liberal Democrat Care Minister, Norman Lamb, who recently visited Tessa’s patch said:
“We know how hard carers work and that one of the most important things to them is getting a break every now again. That’s why the Liberal Democrats will introduce this Carer’s Bonus if we are in government again after the General Election.”
“But it’s not for us to dictate to carers what they do with it – they know best how to spend the money in the way that will most benefit them – and the people they care for.”
The pledge follows a number of measures introduced to support carers by the Lib Dems in Coalition Government. Both Lib Dem Care Ministers, Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb, have led the work to better provide for Britain’s invisible team of helpers.
In Government, the Lib Dems have secured £800 million to fund short breaks for disabled children and their families. Around £400 million has been set aside to support carers to take breaks from caring responsibilities, while £3 million has been allocated to improve awareness and understanding about carers among health workers.
Since being elected, Tessa has spoken up for carers on a number of occasions when they have been threatened with unnecessary cuts by the Leader of Somerset County Council.