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Carers Wales calls for action from council candidates to support struggling unpaid carers

Carers Wales is calling for action from council candidates as it launches its manifesto ahead of the local authority elections on May 5th. Despite nearly all Covid restrictions having been lifted, unpaid carers are at the back of the queue when it comes to local services they rely on re-opening, and they are struggling with the increased costs-of-caring on top of the wider cost-of-living crisis. Hundreds of thousands of unpaid carers across Wales have seen their health and finances deteriorate as they have had to provide more care with less support in communities across Wales during the pandemic. Unpaid carers in every community in Wales saved local government social  services and other services in Wales £33m every day at the height of the pandemic by caring for ill,  elderly, and disabled people. Recent research published by the charity found that many of the local authority services relied on by carers, and those they care for, are still heavily disrupted. Just 8% of carers said that day centres and care homes for respite breaks had fully re-opened, and only 16% said sitting services had fully re opened. Carers are dealing with the increased costs-of-caring on top of accelerating inflation, with recent Carers Wales research finding that carers in Wales were having to spend an average of £1,300  of their own money to provide care. Carers Wales has released a manifesto “A Recovery for Carers”, which proposes actions local authority candidates should endorse, and the councils elected on May 5th should action, to deliver a  local recovery for unpaid carers. The charity is calling for local authorities to • Restore and fully re-open local services for unpaid carers as soon as possible • Increase in every year of the next local authority term council spending on services for  carers to reduce the number of carers missing out on support • Introduce local grant schemes to help carers deal with the increased costs of caring on top  of the rising cost-of-living • Provide urgent clarity on carer eligibility for free Covid tests moving forward and actively  promote to carers how they can access tests The Carers Wales manifesto for the local authority elections can be viewed on the carerswales.org  website. Carers Wales encourages carers, and all those who support them, to discuss the manifesto  with council candidates. The local authorities elected next month must provide hope and deliver real  improvements for unpaid carers. Beth Evans, Carers Wales Policy Manager said “Unpaid carers in every community in Wales have been pushed to breaking point by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Their mental and physical health has worsened, and by providing unpaid  care to people in need they have saved local government social services and the NHS billions of  pounds a year. Our research has found the local authority services carers rely on are still heavily disrupted. At a time  of minimal Covid restrictions, carers should not have to wait any longer for a recovery from the  pandemic and the local authority elections must be the start of this change.Unpaid carers need the councillors elected on May 5th to take action to re-open services for carers,  help with the costs-of-caring and support them to access free Covid tests. We urge everyone to ask  their local candidates how they will support unpaid carers if elected”. More information and contact details Carers Wales is the national campaigning charity for unpaid carers in Wales. We provide  information, advice and wellbeing support for all unpaid carers in Wales and use research and  influencing to campaign for the support carers deserve. To discuss this manifesto please contact  Carers Wales on info@carerswales.org or 029 2081 1370. www.carerswales.org. /CarersWales on Facebook and @carerswales on Twitter