Jason Zadrozny column: Carers are unsung heroes

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At the end of November it was Carers Rights Day and over the festive period my thoughts are with the 12,000 plus carers in Ashfield.

They are the unsung heroes of the system, giving their time and love to care for a family member.

It’s clear to me that more must be done to support them and ease, what I know from personal experience, can be an incredibly demanding role.

New research by Carers UK shows there are over 4,000 people who begin caring annually in Ashfield.

Carers save the State tens of billions of pounds a year and the Liberal Democrats have created a package of measures to support carers as part of our pre-manifesto.

The package includes raising the amount carers can earn before losing their allowance.

It also contains measures for more flexible working hours, support in returning to the jobs market and a scheme informing carers of their rights and giving them access to facilities.

This follows Lib Dem plans announced earlier this year to introduce an annual Carers’ bonus of up to £250.

There are 12,322 carers in Ashfield and they all do a remarkable job. We need to make sure they receive the support they need.

Carers contribute so much to our economy and society we want to make it easier for them to stay in work and balance their caring responsibilities with other parts of their lives.

The Liberal Democrats believe in offering opportunities for everyone in order to build a stronger economy and a fairer society and that means really valuing the work that informal carers do, day in day out.

When I was just 16 years old, I began to be a full time carer for my grandmother after she suffered a series of debilitating strokes.

I saw first-hand the gap in support for carers and the isolation and frustration that can happen when the state doesn’t provide the help it should.

I met many other carers who truly were the unsung heroes of our care system.

That’s why I’m so proud that Liberal Democrats have also legislated new rights to support and fund more breaks for carers.

Our carers’ package of measures recognises the huge contribution carers make.

It aims to offer the right support at the right time to carers in work, when dealing with the NHS and financially.

We should measure our society by how we treat those who need our help.

We must keep fighting for a stronger economy so that we can afford to deliver that fairer society that we all strive to achieve.