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A leading charity has issued a heartfelt plea to all political parties, calling for better support for the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers and a commitment to improving the lives of carers.

Carers UK has launched its Carers Manifesto, following Theresa May’s announcement of snap general election in June, listing its top five priorities on how political parties can help those caring unpaid for older, seriously ill or disabled loved ones across the UK.

The charity says “the time has come for a new social contract” between carers, public services, employers, and the public, to build a “society that values, respects and supports unpaid carers” in all areas of their lives.

It adds that all carers should be guaranteed financial security, services that are there when needed, an NHS that properly supports them, the ability to combine work and caring duties if wanted, and sufficient information and advice on caring.

Carers UK is calling on all political parties to commit to:

  • Ensure that carers and their families do not suffer financial hardship as a result of caring
  • Ensure that there is sufficient funding so that older and disabled people get affordable care when they need it
  • Ensure carers are able to juggle work and care, returning to work if they wish
  • Create a more ‘Carer Friendly’ NHS
  • Provide easily available information and advice to the public so everyone is better prepared for caring and can get support early to look after their own health and wellbeing.

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “Our vision is of a society that respects, values, and supports carers.

“There are 6.5 million unpaid carers providing the majority of care for families, but pressure on our health and care system, insufficient financial support and lack of rights in the workplace are putting an unsustainable strain on these families and friends.

“The time has come for a new social contract between carers, public services, employers, and wider society to achieve this vision.

“We urge all political parties to support our Manifesto and look forward to working with all newly-elected Members of Parliament to bring improvements for carers in the next Parliament.”