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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lib Dems put carers at heart of disability manifesto

Liberal Democrats say they believe that no matter who you are, where you come from and what your circumstances, no one should be denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential. In order to build a fairer society, the Lib Dems say we must break down the unfair divisions in our society and in government again, Liberal Democrats will ensure that disabled people get the support and help they need.

Launching the Liberal Democrat Disability Manifesto the party say it sets out how they will work to improve the benefits system for disabled people and move towards joined up health care services. One of the main proposals Liberal Democrats have announced is a £150m package for the 6.5 million carers across Britain who support their loved ones that are older, disabled or seriously ill. Approximately 1 in every 8 adults provide care, unpaid for family and friends.

Under Liberal Democrat plans, these carers will receive a £250 bonus to ease the cost of caring for family members who requires support for 35 hours or more over a 12 month period. They say they will introduce this bonus gradually over the next Parliament with £125 available for carers in 2017/18.

In addition the Lib Dems say the NHS will have a legal duty to identify carers and introduce an innovative new Carer's Passport that provides people who look after ill and vulnerable loved ones with privileged support. This could range from more flexible visiting hours and free hospital parking, through to free cinema tickets, free restaurant meals and free gym sessions.

The Lib Dems propose that Carers could get an additional five days paid additional "care leave" a year and would be allowed to do more work without losing their Carer's Allowance by extending the "earnings limit" from £110 per week to £150 per week, putting more money back into their pockets. They would also appoint a new cross-government "Carer's Champion" to ensure carers get a voice at the heart of government.