PCS CAMPAIGN on WELFARE BILL

CarerWatch is supporting the PCS campaign against the Welfare Reform Bill The Campaign website is www.pcs.org.uk/welfare CarerWatch is making the following statement at the rally at Westminster on 3rd March 2009  Statement from Carer Watch Thank you for the invitation to speak at this important & timely event. We’re very sorry a Carer Watch representative could not attend today but, as you will appreciate, as full-time carers we often find it difficult to get out to meetings. Like you we have grave concerns about the proposals in the welfare reform bill & their likely impact on vulnerable members of society including many of those we care for. At the launch of the white paper, James Purnell said he wanted more debate about how carers might fit into a single benefit for all working age people (SWAB). We do not believe carers should be included in this. To qualify for carers allowance – the lowest earnings replacement benefit at just £50.55 a week – carers have to provide a minimum of 35 hours a week care. This care would otherwise have to be provided by state-funded social care staff at a considerably higher cost  to the taxpayer. Without carers our NHS & social care system would collapse. We believe carers’ value to society should be recognised by keeping carer benefits separate. A recent study by Carers UK shows that three quarters of carers struggle to pay essential bills & more than half are in debt. The government should act now to fully recognise the work carers do in supporting the whole of society & protect carers from becoming impoverished. We are also...