Alex Cunningham called on the Government to do better in providing services for carers young and old when he challenged the Prime Minister at question time. But whilst the PM took the chance to recognise their “unpaid work” and the cash carers save the Government each year, he failed to deliver any commitment to better address their needs.
The challenge to David Cameron came as the Stockton North MP pledged to continue his work on behalf of carers, committing his support as part of national Carers Week which runs from 06-12 June 2016.
There are 6.5 million people in the UK who care for a partner, relative or friend. The Stockton borough is home to 19,924 of these carers, with 9,508 in Stockton North alone.
The Labour MP backed the seven charities driving Carers Week 2016 in calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by building “Carer Friendly Communities” – encouraging all parts of the community to think about carers and do things differently to support them.
The call comes after research for Carers Week revealed that a combination of inadequate support from local services and a lack of understanding about caring from the wider society is having a negative impact on carers’ health, wellbeing, relationships and finances.
“Carers make a huge contribution to our society, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members. Each year, two million people become carers and it is estimated that three in five people will be carers at some point in their lifetime. Many of us will also require care ourselves and, with an ageing population and people living longer, the number of carers is only going to increase.
“That is why I am proud to again be supporting Carers Week in 2016, and am encouraging services across the Stockton borough to think about what more they can do to help meet the needs of carers and make our communities more carer friendly.”
Emily Holzhausen, who leads the Carers Week partnership, said: “With an ever increasing number of families taking on caring roles for older, ill or disabled loved ones, it is great to see MPs showing their support for carers. While carers have told us that it makes a huge difference when they are recognised and supported by their local services and communities, too many tell us they struggling to balance caring with other areas of their lives. By working together during Carers Week we have a huge opportunity to make our communities more Carer Friendly and make a difference to those who contribute so much”.