Over 100, caring, anti-poverty, women’s rights organisations and think tanks recently joined forces to issue an urgent plea for politicians in Wales and across the UK to act to protect carers from a growing poverty crisis.

In a joint open letter, the organisations say that carers on the frontline of the fight against the Coronavirus are facing ‘intolerable pressure’, having been undervalued and under rewarded for far too long.

The organisations warn that failing to ensure carers are protected from poverty would be ‘truly unforgiveable’.

The organisations behind the open letter say that an inadequate social security system and poverty wages have left both paid and unpaid carers languishing in poverty for years.

New research by Carers Wales has revealed that 77% of unpaid carers are having to spend more money during the outbreak. The charity Gingerbread has cautioned that measures to limit the spread of the virus will put “huge pressure” on single parent families which were already twice as likely to be in poverty, and the Women’s Budget Group has warned that many low-paid women will not benefit from government support because they earn too little, or are in insecure, temporary and part-time work. The IPPR has called on government to “address the gaping holes in our social safety net”.

The signatories, including 18 Welsh organisations ranging from Oxfam Cymru to Carers Wales, the Women’s Equality Network Wales, the Wales TUC and the Child Poverty Action Group, are calling for carers, both paid and unpaid, to be protected from poverty through increases to social security levels and a boost in cash given to social care providers.

The coalition is calling for increases to key benefits, including Carer’s Allowance and Child Benefit, as well as immediate changes to other social security payments. The organisations are also calling for a significant cash injection into the social care system to enable providers to pay their workers a minimum of the Real Living Wage.

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