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"Carers Poverty Alliance" Petition - Local Campaign 2011

Carers raise concerns with Bridget Phillipson MPLike many carers across the country you may have signed the ‘Carers Poverty Alliance’ petition. The petition was presented to 10 Downing Street during Carers Week and called on the government to recognise the huge financial sacrifice carers make.

As part of our local campaign, all three Sunderland MPs met some of their constituent carers at local meetings in Washington, Houghton-le-Spring and Sunderland on 20th May.

The MPs listened to carers about their financial concerns and worries about welfare reform.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said

“Carers contribute so much – not only to the people they care for, but also in saving the government billions in care costs. It was great to meet the carers today and to listen to their experiences and issues around poverty, which I will be taking back to Westminster with me. Public awareness and appreciation of the hidden army of carers has been steadily growing over the last few years, and in these tough economic times, it is vital that they get the support they need to carry on caring for their loved ones but also have quality of life for themselves.”

Bridget Phillipson (pictured), MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, said

“I know from meetings I have had in my constituency and my constituency surgeries that carers provide an invaluable service to loved ones and save the taxpayer billions on services that would otherwise have to be provided by the state. We have a higher than average number of carers here in my constituency and I know that many of them are concerned that the government’s proposed benefit changes might leave them living in poverty. I am here today to listen to their concerns and to reassure them that I will do all that I can to ensure they receive the support they need.”

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, said

“Carers provide an invaluable service without which our NHS and Social Services would be pushed to breaking point. It’s within all of our interests, therefore, to ensure that the carers themselves are adequately looked after.”

Carer, Marie Jackson attended the meeting with Julie Elliott at Sunderland Carers’ Centre. Marie really found the meeting useful and said “I had a particular problem I wanted to discuss at the meeting. I was grateful to Julie because she knew my problem was time sensitive and she followed up on it really quickly."

If you want to keep up to date with news about the petition look out for updates in the newsletter and on this website.