The Government recognise and appreciate the vital role played by unpaid carers now more than ever. We have already made changes to the carer’s allowance rules to reflect changes to patterns of care during the current emergency. Since 2010, the rate of carer’s allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers.
My constituent, Natalie Hay, is a full-time unpaid carer for her son, who has Lyme disease and ME. She is entitled to that paltry £67 per week as long as she does not earn any more than £128 per week, but with the pandemic, she is having to shield her son and home-school two children and has lost all respite care and additional support, so a few hours’ paid work is out of the question. She feels completely forgotten about by the Government. Does the Minister think it is possible to live on the equivalent of £1.91 per hour, and will he commit—
Rightly, we target support at those most in need—those with low incomes—and they could, through universal credit, receive an additional £1,950 per year through the universal credit carer’s element, plus the extra £1,040 universal credit standard rate increase, which is the equivalent of the jobseeker’s allowance rate. I would encourage the claimant to look at all available support that they are entitled to.