Closed petition Increase Carer's Allowance to equal 35hrs at National Minimum Wage

As of April 2022 Carer's Allowance is £69.70 a week for at least 35 hours caring a week, which works out at roughly £1.99 p/h. National Minimum Wage for 18 year olds is currently £6.83 p/h.

We want Carer's Allowance to be increased to £239.05 a week, to reflect the work carers do.

More details

Almost half of those living in poverty are disabled or live with someone who is. Many carers are unable to work, or only able to work part time due to caring responsibilities. Carer's Allowance is treated as taxable income, and is also deducted from any other benefits you may receive.

Less than 20% of disabled people are born with a disability, and anyone could end up with a disability, or caring for someone with a disability.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

34,295 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 20 September 2022

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit that provides some financial recognition that a carer may not be able to work full-time. It is part of a range of support based on individual needs, rather than a wage.

Read the response in full

This Government recognises the very important role that unpaid and family carers make in providing significant care and continuity of support to family and friends on a daily basis.

It is however, important to emphasise that Carer’s Allowance is not intended to be a replacement for a wage nor a payment for the services of caring and is therefore not comparable with either the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage. The principal purpose of Carer's Allowance is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who choose to give up the opportunity of full-time work to provide regular care for a severely disabled person. It has never been the role of the Government to pay people for the tasks they undertake, voluntarily, in the way that an employer would, and this Government has no plans to change that principle. Instead, successive Governments have supported carers through allowances and benefits as well as wider cross-government actions.

Unpaid carers are overwhelmingly caring for a family member or friend, rather than someone unknown to them. The amount of unpaid caring they undertake, and its intensity, will differ from carer to carer, as will their reasons and motivation for accepting caring responsibilities. Many can successfully combine caring with some employment, so will continue to have income from paid employment. Those unpaid carers who do need financial support may be able to get help from the benefits system – and not only from Carer’s Allowance, but from a range of means-tested benefits as well.

Carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit, alongside Carer’s Allowance. Universal Credit can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the payment of the carer element. In April 2022, the Universal Credit carer element increased to £168.81 per month. Around 405,000 (Feb 22 data) carer households on Universal Credit can receive around an additional £2,000 a year through the carer element.

Real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance in 2022/23 is forecast to be £3.4bn and between 2022/23 and 2026/27 real terms expenditure on CA is forecast to increase by just over a third (around £1.2 billion). By 2026/27, the Government is forecast to spend just under £4.5 billion a year on Carer’s Allowance. 

A National Insurance Class 1 credit is generally awarded for each week that Carer’s Allowance is paid to a working-age carer. Class 1 credits can help towards the conditions of entitlement to all contributory benefits, as well as the new State Pension. Receipt of Carer’s Allowance also exempts the carer from the benefit cap.

Carer’s Allowance permits carers to undertake some part-time work if they can do so, without this affecting their entitlement. The earnings limit recognises the benefits of staying in touch with the workplace, including greater financial independence and social interaction.

The Government consulted on proposals for a new entitlement to carer’s leave in 2020 and published its response in September 2021. This committed to introducing carer’s leave as a day 1 right. This will be available to all employees who are providing care for a dependant with a long-term care need. Eligible employees will be entitled to one week of unpaid leave per year, which will be available to take flexibly in individual or half days.

Department for Work and Pensions

Cost of living for disabled people and carers to be looked at by MPs

Next week the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee will hear from disabled people and carers on how they have been affected by the rising cost of living in the UK.

The people invited to speak to the Committee include Abigail Broomfield, the creator of a petition which called on the Government to make all disabled people and unpaid carers eligible for the £650 cost of living payment.

Topics to be discussed at the session will include:

  • the challenges disabled people and their carers are facing due to increased food and energy costs
  • the effectiveness of Government support

A transcript of the session will be published on the Committee's website a few days after the session.

What is an evidence session?

An evidence session is a hearing where key stakeholders, such as Ministers or campaigners, answer questions on a particular topic. They help MPs on a committee to gain a deeper understanding of a topic.

What is the Women and Equalities Committee

The Women and Equalities Committee is a cross-party group of MPs who look into the work of the Government Equalities Office (GEO).

The Women and Equalities Committee is a select committee. Find out how select committees work.

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Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.

Share your views on the cost of living and financial support for disabled people

The MPs on the Petitions Committee have scheduled a debate on two petitions about the cost of living and financial support for disabled people:

Marsha De Cordova MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, has been asked to open the debate, which will take place on Monday 22 May.

Share your views

To inform the debate, we would like to hear from you about your experiences of and views on the cost of living and financial support for disabled people and people with a long-term health condition.

You can share your views with us by completing this survey

The survey is also available in the following formats:

With British Sign Language

Easy Read

The survey will close on 31 March.

A summary of responses will be published on the Parliament website. It will also be shared with MPs and may be referred to in the debate or within other parliamentary documents. Please don't share anything that may identify you.

Watch the debate

The debate will take place on Monday 22 May at 4.30pm.

A British Sign Language translation of the debate will also be made available on Parliament Live TV.

What are petition debates?

Petition debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on financial support for disabled people at the end of the debate.

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Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.

Share your experiences for a debate on National Carers Week and respite for carers

On Thursday 8 June, Dame Caroline Dinenage MP will lead a debate in Parliament entitled ‘National Carers Week and respite for carers’.

To inform the debate, she would like to hear about your experiences of providing unpaid care, and insights on support for carers. She may quote your contribution directly during her debate.

Find out more and share your experiences with her by midday on Wednesday 7 June:

Videos of the debate, the transcript of what was said, and other relevant material will be accessible from 8 June on this webpage.

What are backbench business debates?

Backbench business debates give backbenchers (MPs who aren’t ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the main House of Commons Chamber or Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons.

MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears requests and decides which debates to schedule.

Backbench debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote). This will be a general debate.

MPs examine Carer's Allowance

A group of MPs called the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee held an evidence session looking at Carer's Allowance on Wednesday 6 March.

At the evidence session, MPs questioned policy experts and also heard from a carer. The aim of this session was to explore claimants' experiences of receiving Carer's Allowance and consider how it could be modernised.

What is an evidence session?

An evidence session is when a group of MPs - called a committee - invite experts and people with experience of a certain issue to answer questions about it. This helps the committee understand more about the issue.

What is the Work and Pensions Committee?

The Work and Pensions Committee is a group of MPs from different political parties that look into the policies and spending of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), including benefits for people in and out of work, state pensions and the regulation of private pensions. It also scrutinises DWP's public bodies and other regulators.

The Work and Pensions Committee is a select committee.
Find out how select committees work.

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.