I have campaigned on issues for carers since I was first elected to Parliament in 2005.
I have led debates on how we can improve services to support carers and continue to campaign for the contribution of carers to be recognised.
I introduced two Private Member’s bills on the Identification and the Support of Carers. My Bills have called for a duty to be placed on the NHS and other organisations such as schools and colleges to identify carers and support them with services. In June 2007, I was appointed by Gordon Brown to lead the Labour Party's manifesto work on Social Care and at the end of 2008 I was awarded the Charity Champions Social Welfare Award.
I am continuing to press the Government and the Labour party to improve the rights of carers and to recognise the effect that caring can have on the carer’s health and wellbeing. I wrote a chapter for the Labour party’s ‘One Nation Fizz’ book on the need to establish a ‘Covenant for Carers’.
I have also introduced a 10 Minute Rule Bill to exempt carers from the Bedroom Tax. Over 60,000 carers have been hit by this Government’s Bedroom tax. Increasing the financial burden on people who give unpaid family care is unacceptable. My Bill would exempt carers who are eligible for Carers Allowance from the Bedroom tax or if a room is required to provide for overnight care for any person in that household.
You can read my ‘One nation fizz’ chapter and more about my work for carers in the news page.