The emotional blackmail of 1.7 million carers.
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In no election has the welfare of the UK's 1.7 million carers taken the front of centre in any election campaign. While the Scottish Government have agreed they will increase carers allowance to the level of Jobseekers it is still not enough and only Westminster can make the change.
I'm asking the electorate to support putting carers right in front of the stage for the 2017 General Election and ending the consistent emotional blackmail by Westminster.
Carers get paid only £62.10 per week, this is almost £15 less a week than job seekers. Despite this they work, in most cases over 50 hours a week, are on average £6000 in debt but save the UK treasury £120 billion per year. To put that in perspective, that is more than the combined budgets of the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland combined. Without carers the UK National Health Service and Social Care system would collapse overnight.
Yet, no party has ever put them front and centre for an election campaign, one assumes because the nature of the carer is to continue to care regardless of what they are subjected to at the hands of the state.
In 2012 I contacted every MP putting forward a proposal to change the carers benefit system to a wage system. I received 3 responses. The first was from the Scottish National Party, who responded on behalf of all of their MP's saying they took on board the recommendations. The second was from the Scottish Green Party saying they supported the change, indeed a modified version now adorns their party policy. The third was from a conservative MP suggesting I use more bullet points.
The proposal is simple. Do away with carers allowance at £62.10 a week and payments of income support to top it up. This would account for £430 a month. Do away with the dual system and replace it with a wage paid based on 40 hours a week at the living wage and tax it. This would equate to £1152 per 28 day cycle. £430 of it will be paid from the old carers allowance and income support, leaving £722 left to find. An additional 10% would account for general taxation on that wage, bringing us down to £650 to find. Another £100 could be deducted from cost savings moving from two benefits to one, leaving £550 to find. The £1000 paid to the individual would be used to buy products and services, 20% of which would be paid back into the system as VAT. Now we are down to £350 left to find.
This £350 would immediately act as an economic stimulus package, with an addition 1.7 million people contributing to the system. If we can bail the banks out to the tune of £6000 per head in the UK, we can fund this.
The change to a wage system rather than benefits would give carers a payslip, which means they could take finance at good rates, they could apply for full banking facilities, they could begin to pay off their debts and they would be classified as ordinary working citizens.
The effect of injecting an additional £350 a month over 1.7 million people would act as a massive stimulus to the economy, jobs would be created, retail would be boosted, manufacturing jobs, reductions in national debt and ultimately the funds would be recovered in company taxation and would stimulate local economies.
This change would give back dignity and respect to carers, who are by every definition, hard working contributors to society.
Contact your MP's, retweet and sign this petition and make it clear that the party leaders better start showing some respect to our carers, because without them there would be no benefits system, no NHS, no social work. It is time to start showing some respect to them and we want the leaders to begin to speak up for their rights, not as benefit claimants, but as productive, hard working individuals that do more for our economy and for this country than any politician!
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