All posts by Caroline Page

Lib Dem County Councillor for Woodbridge, Suffolk; Elected 2008, 2009,2013; LD spokesman, Transport; Vice-Chair Education Transport Appeals; Speed Limit Panel member ; Campaigns for Rural Transport, Buses, Rail, Cycling, Young People, Libraries, Disability, Epilepsy & Carers

Carers should have rights every day of the year!

Caroline PageToday, 29th November is officially Carers Rights Day – the day when the UK  celebrates family carers and tells  them what they are worth.

” I am offended by the whole concept.  Carers Rights Day seems to be a day when well-paid professionals and media pundits gather together to pat each other on the backs and declare they care.  The brutal truth is that they don’t.  Society doesn’t. Successive governments don’t.   And when I once asked Unison strikers why they were not striking for family carers they memorably replied “Because you don’t work!” ,” says Woodbridge Councillor, Caroline Page

“Carers wouldn’t need a Carers Rights Day if the state had ever given Family Carers any meaningful rights.  And the right to be accepted as a worker rather than patronised as a rather dim and unworldly saint  comes top of the list,” Cllr Page –  a longterm family carer – maintains.

“If carers were seen as the workers they are, the real cost of that care: the working hours, the loss of careers, the impact of poverty and poor health, the absence of employment-related pensions – all these might be factored into the support offered to them. As it is, people suggest they may like a session of aromatherapy!

“The welfare state has traditionally relied  on the love carers feel for those they care for to save the state the real cost of that care. Yet carers suffer from blighted careers, poverty, poor health (fulltime carers are twice as likely to be in bad health than their peers) and can look forward to little more than an impoverished old age.  Thousands of people like myself have worked unsupported 168 hour weeks for years. It is perfectly possible we might just get worn out!”, says Caroline Page.   “This is not only sad and wrong, it is also very expensive.  How much does it cost to replace 24/7 specialised, knowledgeable care? Five years ago the cost of home care was estimated as between £18 and £27 per hour depending on whether it was daytime, evening or weekend. Goodness knows what it is in 2013.

Every day should be Carers Rights Day – and everyone should recognise and remember they are a single step away from being either a carer or someone who needs  care.”

Caroline Page is calling on the government to look at and act on her wish-list :

  1. Carers Allowance should be viewed as a wage rather than a benefit, awarded to all full-time carers . Currently family carers can claim £59 odd a week -if they don’t earn more than £100:  meaning carers are expected to live and further their careers on £8368  a year. If, of course you earn a little more than £100 a week, you get no carers allowance at all. Yet the constraints on your lifestyle of fulltime caring are very equivalent to those of disability.
  2. The state must further relax rules on ‘other employment’ to allow carers the ‘luxury’ of being able to work, and have some non-caring life outside their responsibilities.
  3. The state should pay into the equivalent of an occupational pension for carers to accurately reflect (ok at minimum wage) the real hours spent caring. This could be established by reference to the cared for’s DLA returns and would give carers the prospect of a securer old age with recognition of what can be decades of real – if unpaid work.
  4. When a family carer is bereaved they are simultaneously made redundant. The state should set up robust and appropriate  training to provide  carers for genuine, satisfying jobs when their caring roles (often sadly) end. This isn’t a luxury – it is a reward for all the unpaid work they have done without prospect of career advancement. 

Caroline Page

Pylons: Suffolk Lib Dems “on the right lines!”

PylonSuffolk Lib Dems welcome the news that controversial plans to install overhead power lines between Bramford and Twinstead have been put on hold until 2020 at the earliest. Updated information from National Grid reveals that their  proposed 400,000 volt connection between the two sites is now needed later than originally planned.

“We are absolutely delighted! We have been saying all along that pylons are not required at present  – if at all,”  says Group Leader David Wood. “ Hopefully this delay will give us a breathing space to raise the game and finally get the entire route under-grounded.”

David Busby, County Councillor for Belstead Brook, also welcomed the news and pledged to continue the fight to have to whole line underground if this scheme does eventually come to fruition. “This is a small victory in the campaign started by my predecessor, county councillor and previous Lib Dem group leader Kathy Pollard, which was subsequently taken up by other local authorities,” he said. “Let’s ensure that this hiatus will persuade National Grid to finally think on the right lines.”

Busby’s Movember

Dave Busby: pre-Movember
Picture 1: Dave Busby: pre-Movember

 

 

 

 

Mo-vember  is upon us once again and Suffolk LibDems are already seeing a change to their dapper spokesperson for Finance and Property, Dave Busby, Councillor for Belstead Brook.

The mo-vement  is an annual month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November. The aim is to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancers and associated charities.

DaveB wk1 (832x1024)
Picture 2: Dave Busby, Movember 4th

 

We will be update the moustache scenario at the end of the month to see how he gets on..

 

 

Dave Busby reaches the end of Movember - and hits Decembeard?
Picture 3: Suffolk County Councillor Dave Busby reaches the end of Movember – and has his sights set on Decembeard?

 

 

 

Update: December 2013

Congratulations to Dave Busby whose Mo-vember efforts  managed to raise funds both for Prostate cancer research and for the Samaritans.