In the UK currently seven million people are carers. That is one in ten people and the figure is only rising as demographics change and people live longer with more disabilities and illnesses.
Three in five of us will be carers at one point or another in our lives.
That is why it is so important this week, Carers Week, that we understand and recognise the contribution carers make to society.
Carers are more likely to suffer with mental health and physical health problems. Young carers miss days of school. And carers are more likely to struggle financially and have lower rates of employment.
Yet in the UK one in three carers have missed out on benefits they are entitled to because they did not realise they could claim them.
That is why I am using Carers Week to challenge the Conservative Government. This week in the House of Lords I asked the Government what steps they are taking to ensure unpaid carers receive the support to which they are entitled.
We need to being doing much more for unpaid carers across the UK.
The Liberal Democrats have also repeated called for the Carer’s Allowance to be raised and for the number of hours required to qualify to be reduced. We would also make it a legal duty for the NHS to identify carers to ensure unpaid carers have access to support and flexible visiting hours. We would develop a Carer’s Passport to ensure carers are informed of their NHS rights.
Liberal Democrats demand better for unpaid carers. We all need to be doing much more to support some of the most hardworking and undervalued people in our society.