Did you know that there are over 370,000 carers in Wales. That’s more than double the population of Newport City. So that’s over 10% of the population of Wales caring for a someone who is either sick or disabled. And many of these people will be claiming carers allowance (or the carers allowance part of universal credit), because owing to their care duties, they are unable to work. The basic rate of carers allowance is £64.40 per week (£3348.80 per year) and if for whatever reason this is the only benefit you are entitled to, you can guess it doesn’t go very far. I also don’t understand why its so low, for example you could have the exact same personal circumstance, but if you were claiming job seekers allowance, you would be receiving £73.10 per week, which doesn’t make sense to me.
But lets talk about transport and other costs that are associated with caring for someone sick or disabled. Trips to doctors and hospital appointments big parts of caring someone, especially someone who is sick, and the long term sick and disabled will be able to use buses for free (in Wales at least) however their carers wont. To travel from Cwmbran (where I live) to the nearest major hospital (the Royal Gwent in Newport) will cost approximately £9.50 in bus fare which is over 15% of your weekly income in many cases for carers.
Moving forward I would make it a priority for the Welsh Government to introduce concessionary bus passes for all those in receipt of carers allowance. The Welsh Government is already willing to pay for 736,000 concessionary bus passes for the over 60’s regardless of income or status, as well as paying for all those who suffer from long term illness or disability. So why not make the move towards some sort of social mobility for what is often a forgotten strand of society?