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Usdaw welcomes Labour’s promise to support carers, recognising their valuable contribution

Date: 14 January 2015 Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett has welcomed today’s announcement by Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, setting out the Party’s plans to improve support for England’s 5.4 million unpaid family carers.

John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Carers make a huge contribution, not only to the well-being of their family, but to wider society as well. They save the country a huge amount of money and provide care with dedication, love and unique understanding. It is right that they are valued.

“However, carers are often under a great deal of pressure, particularly if they are also trying to hold down a job. Usdaw represents thousands of members struggling to balance work, home life and their caring responsibilities.

“Usdaw's own research shows that over half of our women members in their 50s and older are regularly looking after grandchildren and in most cases are combining this with looking after another relative, friend or neighbour.

“We know that there can be pressure on older women to give up family-friendly shift patterns to accommodate colleagues bringing up their own children. The caring commitments of many older women looking after grandchildren or elderly parents are much less well recognised. So we welcome Labour’s policies to help older women juggle work and care.

"Improving flexible working for family carers, which could include a new period of ‘adjustment leave’ to help families cope with a short-term crisis, would make a real difference. We also welcome annual health checks for carers, a single point of contact with care services, ring-fenced funding for carers’ breaks, help with transport costs and of course the abolition of the grossly unfair Bedroom Tax, which penalises over 60,000 carers.

“For too long working carers have been overlooked, Labour has today set out policies that will begin to change their lives.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 433,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers