Election 2015

Election 2015: Lib Dems promise £150m carers' support

Carer holding the hands of an elderly woman Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption One in eight adults in the England and Wales are unpaid carers of family or friends

The Liberal Democrats will launch a disability manifesto on Thursday pledging a £150m support package for carers.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will promise a raft of benefits for carers including a £250 holiday bonus.

One in eight adults across England and Wales provide unpaid care for family or friends, official figures show.

Mr Clegg said more must be done to reward the "unsung heroes of British society".

Other measures to be announced at the launch in Brecon, Powys, include increasing from £110 per week to £150 the amount people can earn without losing their carer's allowance.

Under the plan, the NHS will have a legal duty to identify carers and a new "carer's passport" will offer privileges such as free hospital parking, gym sessions and cinema tickets.

Reality Check

At first glance, allocating £150m to help 6.5 million people is not very much - it's about £23 each.

But the Lib Dems' release on the subject was very clear that it wanted to help all of them. The top line was: "A £150m package for Britain's 6.5 million carers was announced by the Liberal Democrats today as part of their Disability Manifesto."

How generous is Lib Dem carer package?

'Support they deserve'

The party would also consult with businesses to offer five days' paid "care leave" a year.

The annual holiday bonus would start at £125 in 2017/18 and would be paid for by a levy on tobacco firms' profits. It would rise to £250 by 2020 in line with economic growth.

The money is aimed at easing costs for people looking after family members needing weekly support of 35 hours or more.

The Lib Dems expect the measures to benefit more than a million people, costing the government £150m a year in 2017-18, rising to £300m a year by 2020.

Mr Clegg said: "More needs to be done to help carers get the support they deserve."

He added: "Our new £150 million Carer's Package will ensure society pays back the service that carers give to their loved ones and the community".

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