Half a million black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) carers will be helped by a £150 million package announced by the Liberal Democrats as part of their Disability manifesto.
The package aims to help carers across Britain who support their loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill.
Around 10 per cent of carers from the UK are from a BAME background, with Indian carers forming the largest group at 2.2 per cent.
Charity Carers UK estimate that 180,000 people from BAME groups become carers every year.
If the Liberal Democrats were to come into power, carers will receive a £250 bonus to ease the cost of looking after family members who require support for 35 hours or more each week over a 12 month period.
In addition, the NHS will have a legal duty to identify carers and introduce an innovative new ‘Carer’s Passport’ that provides people who look after ill and vulnerable loved ones with privileged support.
This could range from more flexible visiting hours and free hospital parking, through to free cinema tickets, restaurant meals, and gym sessions.
“Currently one in every eight adults across the UK are carers supporting a family member who is older, disabled or seriously ill,” said deputy prime minister and Lib Dems leader Nick Clegg, who launched the Carer’s Package last week.
“They are the unsung heroes of society, quietly going about helping their loved ones without seeking favour or thanks for their kindness.”
Carers could get an additional five days paid additional ‘care leave’ a year. According to the party, they would be allowed to do more work without losing their Carer’s Allowance by extending the ‘earnings limit’ from £110 per week to £150 per week.
The Lib Dems will also appoint a new cross-government ‘Carer’s Champion’ to ensure carers have a voice at the heart of government.
Clegg added: “More needs to be done to help carers get the support they deserve.
“While the Care Act introduced by the Liberal Democrats ensured that £400m was given to the NHS dedicated to helping carers take much needed breaks, we want to go much further.
“Our new £150m Carer’s Package will ensure society pays back the service that carers give to their loved ones and the community, easing the pressure they are under and providing the support needed to live happier, more fulfilling lives.”
The Disability Manifesto also includes measures to “simplify” the disability benefits system and protect benefits for the disabled from cuts to welfare, encourage employers to take on more people with disabilities who want to work, give people with disabilities better access to transport, and tackle disability hate crimes.