Local Labour MP backs pledge to support family carers in communities

Steve McCabe MP is backing Labour’s pledge to improve support for unpaid family carers.

Caring can often be a real struggle and many families feel pushed to breaking point. Too often unpaid carers have to battle all the different services to try and get the support they need and feel pushed from pillar to post. Since November 2013 Steve has been pushing for concrete answers on the future of Kingswood Drive bungalows, a respite service designed to support adults with learning difficulties, their families and their carers.

Many carers have told Steve that the bungalows are a lifeline for them and provide a much needed break from caring duties. For the past year, Steve has been working with local campaigners to push for the inclusion of Kingswood Carers Group in Birmingham City Council’s decision making process about the future of the bungalows and decisions around long term plans are due to be made by this March 2015. With one month until D-Day and growing pressure on carers from across the UK, Steve has welcomed Labour’s plans to help carers by:

1. Placing a new duty on the NHS to identify family carers, so they can get the right help and support, and giving carers a new right to ask for an annual health check – allowing problems to be identified earlier and prevent costs escalating

2. Giving families caring for people with the greatest needs a single point of contact with care services, so they don’t have to battle different parts of the system

3. Ensuring the funding currently identified for carers’ breaks is properly ring-fenced, to make sure all the money goes to family carers

4. Consulting with employers, trade unions and carers organisations on how to improve flexible working for family carers, which could include measures such as a new period of ‘adjustment leave’ to help families cope with a short-term crisis

5. Recognising the transport costs facing family carers, by including family carers in the groups who can be eligible for hospital car parking concessions

6. Abolishing the bedroom tax – which hits 60,000 carers and penalises them for the extra facilities they need

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Family carers in my constituency do an incredible job looking after their loved ones, but from the conversations I’m having with my constituents and the uncertain future of valued services like Kingswood Bungalows respite service it’s clear that many family carers are struggling. Labour recognise this growing problem amongst communities and I think that it is right that carers’ breaks are prioritised and ring-fenced. I will continue to work with local campaigners to secure the future of Kingswood Drive bungalows and will be meeting with carers soon to discuss progress.

“Labour’s pledge to support family carers here will make a huge difference. Caring for a loved one is physically and emotionally demanding, people need a break and families need a government that’s on their side. With this pledge, family carers in my constituency will get the recognition and support they deserve.”

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