Thank you for contacting me recently concerning support for carers and the related campaign by Carers UK.

I appreciate the vital contribution that Britain’s 6.5 million unpaid carers make to those with care needs, our local communities and our economy.  I believe that for too long carers have been ignored and unable to get the help and financial support they need in order to help others.

The previous Labour Government introduced the first ever Carers Strategy in 1999 and a future Labour Government will build on this to provide greater support for family carers.

We will introduce a new right for carers to ask for an annual health check, a new duty on the NHS to identify family carers so they can get the right support, and give families caring for people with the greatest needs a single point of contact with care services, so they don’t have to battle different parts of the system

Labour will ring-fence the money councils get from the Department of Health for carers’ breaks, meaning that at least £130 million a year will be spent on carers’ breaks. We will also abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax, which hits 60,000 carers and penalises them for the extra facilities they need.

I also believe the next Government need to do far more to address the strain that our social care system is currently under. Indeed, 300,000 fewer people older people are getting care compared to 2010. Labour will drive out the culture of time-limited 15-minute care visits and recruit 5,000 more homeworkers to help provide care for those with the greatest needs at home.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views. I hope this letter outlines my belief that supporting carers and improving our care system should be key priorities for the next Government.