The Liberal Democrats have pledged a £150 million ‘Carer’s Package’ to help support people who provide care for sick, elderly and disabled friends and relatives.
Under the party’s plans, carers who provide support for 35 hours a week or more over 12 months will receive a £250 “bonus” to help with the costs of caring for loved-ones.
One in eight adults provide unpaid care for friends and family members, saving the economy an estimated £87 billion a year.
The plan, which forms part of the Lib Dems Disability Manifesto, would be introduced gradually over the course of the next parliament – with £125 available for carers in 2017/18.
Working carers would also be given the right to five days “Care Leave” a year and be allowed to increase their working hours without losing Carers Allowance. This would be achieved by extending the “earnings limit” from £110 per week to £150 per week.
The Lib Dems would also appoint a cross-party “Carers Champion” to “ensure carers get a voice at the heart of government”.
Furthermore, the NHS will have a “legal duty to identify carers” and introduce a new “Carer’s Passport”, that provides people who look after vulnerable loved-ones with “privileged support”.
This could range from flexible visiting hours and free hospital parking, through to free cinema tickets, free restaurant meals and free gym sessions.
No further details were available at the time of publication.