UNPAID carers who look after their family members would be given a £10-a-week benefits boost under a Labour government to bring their payments in line with jobseeker’s allowance.
Around one million “unsung heroes” who care for vulnerable relatives would see their payments rise from £62.70 a week to £73.10 during the first year of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.
He is expected to announce the policy in Birmingham today.
This 17 per cent increase in carer’s allowance would be paid for by scrapping cuts to inheritance tax introduced by the Tories, he is due to say.
Mr Corbyn will argue that carers deserve more because the shoulder extra responsibilities thanks to the Conservatives’ funding squeeze on adult social case — which has also increased demand on the already stretched NHS budget.
“Britain’s social care crisis was made in Downing Street by cutting £4.6 billion from council care budgets,” he will say.
“Millions of unpaid carers have been forced to fill the gap and put under even greater pressure as a result.
“The care they give to the disabled, sick and elderly saves taxpayers £132bn a year.
“So we believe these unsung, unpaid heroes not only deserve our praise and recognition — they deserve better financial support.
“That’s why Labour is convinced it’s both morally and economically right to give the carer’s allowance a boost of £10 a week.
“We also think it’s only fair that this extra support for carers is funded by scrapping the Tory cut on inheritance tax, which will only benefit the wealthiest people in Britain.
“This will be the first step in helping to transform our social care system for the 21st century and boosting support for family carers.”
Around 6.5 million people provide unpaid care for older, disabled and seriously ill relatives and friends but many of those eligible for welfare support do not claim it, according to Labour.
An estimated 795,000 people were receiving carer’s allowance in August last year and the figure is going up by around 50,000 a year, the party said.
Labour said the projected cost of the policy in 2020-21 would be £538m, which would be covered by the reversal of inheritance tax cuts which is expected to amount to £650m.
Shadow care minister Barbara Keeley said: “Our health and care system would not manage without the care that [unpaid carers] provide. Without them, millions of people would have to manage without any support at all.”