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UK charities urge government to better protect carers suffering 'intolerable pressures'

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98-year-old care home resident Albert Rose talking to carer Jeanette on his birthday in Scunthorpe, UK on May 4, 2020, (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)
98-year-old care home resident Albert Rose talking to carer Jeanette on his birthday in Scunthorpe, UK on May 4, 2020, (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)   -   Copyright  LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP or licensors
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Care workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic are fighting back.

A letter, signed by over 100 organisations including Oxfam, Carers UK and Unison union, warns that carers are facing 'intolerable pressure', and have been undervalued and under-rewarded for far too long.

“All of us depend on someone to care for us at some point in our life – as a child, in older age, or due to ill health or additional needs. More than ever, this pandemic has made us all appreciate the incredible value and dedication of carers – both those who are paid and those who provide unpaid care for family or friends. Many are facing unprecedented levels of danger to protect us all,” the letter reads.

“Failing to ensure carers are protected from poverty would be truly unforgivable.”

The Head of Oxfam’s UK Programme, Kirsty Davies-Warner, said the letter was designed to alert lawmakers to challenges being felt in the careworker sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Right now, carers are holding the nation together. The majority are women and are more likely to be struggling to make ends meet. The combination of poverty and the coronavirus will be placing extreme additional pressure on them,” she said

“The public has shown a huge amount of solidarity with our carers but what we want them to do is impress upon our political leaders that this needs to be translated into something concrete to help our carers escape poverty. For carers, both paid and unpaid, coronavirus is making a really bad situation worse,” she added.

The open letter has been sent to lawmakers from across the political spectrum, not only in Westminister but also regional parliamentarians in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.