A happy scene: But the Conservative government has set a trap for carers.

As a carer myself, I know the situation for those like me.

If we carry out work that earns us more than a tiny amount every week (the sort of money Boris Johnson wouldn’t even bother to sneer about), we lose the even tinier amount of Carers’ Allowance afforded us by the Tory government for saving the Treasury £132 billion a year.

With Universal Credit, we will not qualify for the taper that at least attempts to offset loss of benefits against an increase in earnings.

What are we to believe, other than that the Tories want us to live in poverty, simply for trying to help our loved ones?

The alternative is taking work that would prevent us from carrying out any caring responsibilities – plunging our sick and disabled friends and relatives into serious trouble.

It is a deliberate trap, set by the Tories, to push more of us – both carers and cared-for – into despair and, shall we say, unwise acts. We should take every opportunity to shame them for it.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has warned that many of the UK’s 6.5 million carers face losing almost £65 a week under Universal Credit, with MPs urging the UK Government to remove the “cliff-edge” that will deter carers from looking for work or increasing hours worked.

Under the new system, which sees a number of existing social security benefits and tax credits replaced with a single payment, family carers face losing eligibility for Carer’s Allowance if they earn more than £120 a week.

MPs claim this is “a clear contradiction to Government’s stated aims of ‘making work pay’“, with those affected immediately missing out on £64.60 per week in Carer’s Allowance as soon as they exceed the £120 a week earnings threshold.

Those affected also face the enviable decision of having to choose between losing Carer’s Allowance or losing free childcare for their three or four-year-old, the cross-party Committee says, because Universal Credit rules require them to work a minimum 16 hours a week.

The Committee argues that whilst the roll-out of Universal Credit still has a way to go, it may disincentivise work for carers unless ministers recognise the problem and make changes.

It is believed that carers save the UK economy an estimated £132 billion a year, due to providing unpaid care for family members and love-ones which would otherwise have to be paid for by the state.

Source: Unpaid carers face ‘benefits cliff edge’ under universal credit, say MPs

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