McGrath Says Unpaid Carers Must Be Fully Recognised

McGrath says unpaid carers cannot be forgotten when new Assembly starts

McGrath says unpaid carers cannot be forgotten when new Assembly starts

SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said that the efforts of unpaid carers must be recognised by any future Executive.

Mr McGrath was speaking after attending the Carers NI Carers Rights Day research launch on Thursday.

Colin McGrath MLA, SDLP Health Spokesperson, is calling for a fair deal for carers when Stormont gets back in action.

South Down MLA Mr McGrath said: “Unpaid carers represent a huge section of our population and the work they do makes a huge difference in not only looking after family members and friends, but relieving pressure on a health service which is already on the brink. 

“There are currently over 200,000 unpaid carers across the North and 1 in 4 of them are living in poverty. They deserve better. 

“For many the only income they receive is Carers’ Allowance, which amounts to just £76.75 a week.

“There are far too many barriers in place to carers being supported for the vital services they provide. 

“Yesterday’s Autumn Statement made no mention of carers, unpaid or otherwise, dashing hopes that their contributions to society would be recognised.

“Carers receive less than the minimum Universal Credit payment which has already left thousands of people living in poverty.

“How can those with extra caring responsibilities be expected to get by? 

Colin McGrath (red shirt) at the Carers’ meeting.

“When Stormont returns the SDLP Opposition will do whatever we can to highlight the plight of unpaid carers and to push the new Executive to recognise their contribution.

“We cannot have people who give so much being left to rely on so little. The plight of carers was made clear at today’s event and it’s imperative that we give them a voice and push for meaningful change.”