I recognise the valuable contribution made by unpaid carers who provide care to family members, friends and neighbours. A tenth of adults in the UK provide unpaid care for a friend or family member and these people should be supported in the invaluable work they do. I completely agree that these carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles.
I welcome the introduction of the cross-Government National Carers Strategy which looks at what more can be done to support existing and future carers. After a lengthy consultation with carers themselves, the Government announced a two-year programme of support. This includes support for young carers, effective action to help carers balancing their caring and employment responsibilities, and ensuring that health and social care services are responsive to their needs.
The Government is continuing to support the implementation of improved rights for carers, enshrined in the Care Act 2014. I welcome the fact that benefits to support vulnerable and disabled people, including Carer’s Allowance, are exempt from the freeze on working-age benefits.
I am glad to note that the Department of Health and Social Care will continue to lead a programme of targeted work to support carers, including young and unpaid.