Barbara Keeley

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

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One in eight adults, 6.5 million people in the UK, are already caring for a family member or close friend who is frail or facing long-term illness or disability. Every day, 6,000 people take on caring responsibilities. Research done by Carers UK suggests that the number of unpaid family carers is predicted to rise to 9 million people in the next 25 years.

Surveys have shown that fewer than one in ten people can correctly state the true scale of this unpaid family care, meaning the extent of caring is often hidden. While most adults do not believe they will become carers in the future, Carers UK estimate that 60% of the population will have caring responsibilities at some point in their lives.

Unpaid family carers provide a vital part of the care needed by their family members but too many carers miss out on the support and advice that they need. Caring can often begin with a health crisis such as a stroke or a diagnosis of cancer. Starting caring following such a crisis can mean the person does not realise they have become a carer.

If carers are not identified by health professionals, they can struggle with their caring tasks. I have heard carers raise issues like having to buy a hospital bed to use at home and having no idea where to look. Others have talked about the continual cost of parking charges at hospitals when they accompany family members to hospital appointments or are visiting them in hospital.

Caring can be tough. Many people who are looking after family members put their own health second and they are not getting the help they need. The Care Act did give carers the right to an assessment of their needs, but this duty is on local authorities, not on health bodies. Macmillan Cancer Care has reported that only 1 in 20 carers of people with cancer whom they asked had had a carer’s assessment – and only 1 in 3 of the carers had even heard of a carer’s assessment. Yet, 70% of those carers came into contact with health professionals.

Managing work alongside caring responsibilities can also take its toll. One in three carers has had to reduce their hours or give up work in order to continue caring. As cuts to local authority budgets have come into effect, carers can find that the respite breaks they need to enable them to continue caring are disappearing.

This Government has failed to address these issues for carers despite campaigns by me and other MPs, and by cancer charities like Macmillan.

Labour has already said that we will scrap the bedroom tax, which penalises carers with a room which is not additional but may be essential to their caring.  I am proud that Labour is once again pushing this Conservative-led Government to abolish this unfair tax. In addition to this, we will continue to push for action on the other issues for carers. We must ensure that those who are contributing so much to their families and communities are given the support and advice that they deserve.

Labour believes in looking after the people who care.

Too many carers miss out on the support they need - Barbara's LabourList blog

  One in eight adults, 6.5 million people in the UK, are already caring for a family member or close friend who is frail or facing long-term illness or disability....

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Barbara is calling on the Conservative-led Government to take stronger action to combat air pollution. Barbara’s call comes after a cross-party committee of MPs released a report showing that air pollution is causing a “public health crisis”.

The report by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee is the third report on the problems surrounding air pollution. It argues that much more needs to be done to reduce poor air quality and to minimise the health risks associated with this pollution. It estimates that around 29,000 deaths per year in the UK could be attributed to pollution man-made particulate matter (particularly from road traffic).

The report shows that the UK is failing to meet European targets for safe air pollution limits in most of the assessment zones in the UK and that our national Air Quality Strategy has not been renewed in seven years.

Barbara said:

“Poor air quality has a serious impact on people’s health in Salford. We have significant problems with air pollution in Worsley and Eccles South because of the high volumes of traffic and traffic congestion on the M60, the M62, the M602 and the local road network. We are also suffering extra congestion on the East Lancs Road due to congestion caused by the Busway road works. The current mortality figure for Salford attributable to air pollution is higher than the average for England and much higher than the figures for other parts of the country.”

“The Conservative-led Government has failed to take air pollution seriously and we need action now to reduce air pollution in Salford to protect people’s health. I join the authors of this report in calling on the Government to renew its Air Quality Strategy and find new ways of reducing the exposure of people in Salford to pollution and poor air quality.”

 

Barbara demands stronger Government action after report says air pollution is causing a public health crisis

Barbara is calling on the Conservative-led Government to take stronger action to combat air pollution. Barbara’s call comes after a cross-party committee of MPs released a report showing that air...

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Barbara has called on the Government to ensure that disabled people continue to be provided with the support they need to live an independent life. This follows a court ruling about the Government’s planned closure of the Independent Living Fund.

The Independent Living Fund helps to fund care for people with severe disabilities so that they can live independently. The Conservative-led Government has decided to close the fund from June 2015. The decision was challenged by a number of disabled people but the High Court has ruled that the Government’s decision to close the fund is legal. This means that funding will now be transferred to local authorities. However, the fund does not have to be spent providing care for disabled people unless the local authority decides to do so.

In Salford around 70 people rely on the fund to help maintain their independence, and there are 18,000 users of the Independent Living Fund across the country.

Barbara said:

“I am saddened by the High Court’s decision to allow the Conservative-led Government to close the Independent Living Fund. The Government’s actions could place vulnerable people in an extremely difficult situation. I do not want to see it become difficult for disabled people in Salford to live independently and to do many things that other people take for granted.

I am concerned by the lack of guidance from the Government about how needs will be met for users of the Independent Living Fund when central funding is no longer available. The Conservative-led Government must act immediately to ensure that councils across the country are required to ring fence this funding so they can provide fund users with adequate support.

The Government must outline its plans to protect the independence of disabled people in Salford and across the country.”

Barbara calls for the Government to protect the independence of disabled people in Salford

Barbara has called on the Government to ensure that disabled people continue to be provided with the support they need to live an independent life. This follows a court ruling...


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