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Liberal Democrat plan would give 800,000 young carers a free bus pass

September 14, 2019 4:37 PM
By Oliver Milne Political Correspondent in The Mirror
Originally published by High Peak Liberal Democrats

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Davey, himself a former young carer, said it was time to 'right the wrongs' of system which doesn't support people who look after loved ones

For two years the Mirror has been campaigning for Fair Care for All, calling for proper investment to tackle the crisis in our care system and support Britain's unpaid carers.

Sir Ed, the party's treasury spokesman, cared for his mother Nina for three years when she was dying of cancer - including helping her take painkillers and use the bathroom.

She passed away when he was just 15-years-old.

One of three brothers, he had lost his father 11 years earlier to Hodgkin's disease.

Sir Ed told the Mirror: "You have to grow up early as a young carer.

"Without the adequate support, being a young carer can hurt your life chances. "We must demand better."

There are currently about 800,000 young people and young adults aged 11-25 in England who give up their time to care for someone they live with, such as a parent.

Young carers often see their performance at school suffer - being left without the time or money to give education their undivided attention.

Alongside the plan for free bus travel, the party is proposing a raft of new policies include reforming the Carer's Allowance so young people who are in more than 21 hours a week of education can qualify for the cash.

Currently, people in full-time education are not eligible for the weekly £66.15 a grant, even if they care for someone for more than 35 hours in that period.
Sir Ed added that the proposal could make "a big difference to young carers struggling to get by financially".

He added: "Young carers devote much of their time and energy to selflessly looking after others.

"The additional burden of being in school without adequate support takes a toll on health and ambitions, so it is time to right the wrongs.

"The reality is that this Conservative Government simply hasn't done enough. "However, Liberal Democrats are committed to providing the support needed so young carers have the resources and confidence to thrive."